Early Head Start provides comprehensive services to prenatal moms and babies, birth to three years old in North and South Kona, Ka’u, Waikoloa, North and South Kohala, Kamuela and Honoka’a. We offer home visiting services to 75 families and operate two licensed infant-toddler centers, one on the campus of Kealakehe High School for parenting teens and one in Kealakekua at the Greenwell Family Development Center. The Early Head Start program provides opportunities for families to participate in parent/child socialization groups, parent support and education activities, community events, Policy Council and parent committees, and family literacy projects. Parents are supported in being their child’s first and most important teacher and are supported by EHS staff in learning about pregnancy, labor and delivery, nutrition services, mental wellness, infant and toddler development, connecting with community resources, well-child care and education/job training. Parent engagement is critical to the functioning of the Early Head Start program. Parents and families are provided with many opportunities to participate in the program, including giving ideas and feedback on the program and program activities, Policy Council, parent committees, parent trainings and participating in their child’s observation and screening/assessment activities.
Our Early Head Start program encounters success with our children and families on a daily basis, but one child has stood out for me recently. This little girl was “born into” our teen parent program at Kealakehe High School. Her mom, even though a teen, has been actively engaged in our Early Head Start program. She is in her second year of serving on the
EHS Policy council. This mom graduated from high school in June and is now attending Hawaii Community college in the culinary program. Her daughter is now attending our Greenwell Family Development Center. Now almost a year old, the little girl is a very curious learner and can play alongside peers who are older than she is. She is focused and is always engaged in various learning experiences. We have so enjoyed watching this young mom and baby progress and follow the road to learning success!