March 13, 2008

Registration open for fall Head Start program

by Christi Mathis

CARBONDALE, Ill. — Now is the time to register youngsters for the fall semester of Southern Illinois University Carbondale's Head Start program. The pre-kindergarten program is for income-eligible families and children and a new session begins in August.

To be eligible, children must be at least three years old by Sept. 1 but not yet old enough to attend kindergarten this year. Preschool children with disabilities are also welcome.

Head Start offers weekday morning, afternoon, or all-day sessions. The partial-day programs are free, while family eligibility and income determine fees for the full-day program. There's even free bus transportation in designated service areas.

The enrollment application process takes about an hour to complete and registration is usually by appointment. However, four special enrollment events are set allowing walk-in enrollment:

• April 1, noon to 7 p.m., Johnson City Center at 901 Prosperity Ave., 618/983-8459.

• April 10, 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., Carbondale Center at 1900 N. Illinois Ave., 618/453-2440.

• April 15, 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., Marion Center at 907 N. Vicksburg St., 618/997-4255.

• April 17, 4 to 7 p.m., Murphysboro Center at 9822 Illinois 149, 618/687-4433.

Those unable to attend one of those registration sessions can register by appointment at those locations or any of the other SIUC Head Start locations. Although walk-in registration is possible at other times, appointments are highly recommended to assure staff is available to complete the registration process.

The other Head Start centers are:

• Eurma C. Hayes Co-Location at 441 E. Willow St., Carbondale, 618/453-6448, ext. 229, or 618/457-3302.

• John A. Logan Co-Location at John A. Logan College in Carterville, 618/997-2216, ext. 229, or 618/985-3741, ext. 8241.

• Malone's Co-Location at 108 Walnut St., Carterville, 618/997-2216, ext. 229, or 618/985-3366.

Before children begin Head Start in August, parents must provide an official copy (not the one issued by the hospital) of their child's birth certificate and proof of income. In addition, children must have current physical examinations, immunizations as well as tuberculosis screening and a blood lead test. Parents should bring as much of the information as possible when registering their child.

SIUC, with federal grant funding, directs the Jackson and Williamson counties Head Start programs. For more information, contact the SIUC Head Start administrative office from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday at 618/453-6448 or 618/997-2216.