March 29, 2011

Head Start registration schedule announced

by Christi Mathis

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Southern Illinois University Carbondale’s Head Start program is accepting applications in April and May for the new program year beginning in August.

The pre-kindergarten program meets at six different locations to serve families throughout Jackson and Williamson counties and enrollment sessions are set for several times and locations this spring.

To register, children must be at least three years old by Sept. 1, 2011, but not yet old enough to attend kindergarten. Children with disabilities, foster children and homeless children/families have priority enrollment status.

Head Start has three different program options: weekday mornings, weekday afternoons, or all-day sessions. The partial-day programs are free while family eligibility and income determine the costs for full-day services. Staff members encourage all families with preschool-age children to apply as federal income guidelines have changed. In addition, there is free bus transportation in designated service areas.

The enrollment process takes about an hour and children do not need to be present. The exception is for those enrolling at the John A. Logan Co-Location because that registration session includes a preschool screening.

If possible, parents should call in advance for an appointment during the scheduled enrollment sessions. The enrollment schedule, featuring numerous sessions to accommodate families with diverse schedules, includes:

• Carbondale Center, 1900 N. Illinois Ave., Carbondale (618/453-2440) -- 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. each day April 5 and May 3.

• John A. Logan Co-Location at John A. Logan College in Carterville (618/997-2216, ext. 229, or 618/985-3741, ext. 8241) -- 5-7 p.m., April 13.

• Johnston City Center, 901 Prosperity Ave., Johnston City (618/983-8459) -- 9 a.m.-7 p.m., April 4 and 6.

• Malone’s Co-Location at 108 Walnut St. in Carterville (618/997-2216, ext. 229, or 618/985-3366) -- 5-7 p.m. April 13.

• Marion Center, 907 N. Vicksburg St., Marion (618/997-4255) -- 9 a.m.-7 p.m. April 21 and May 10.

• Murphysboro Center, 9822 Illinois Route 149, Murphysboro (618/687-4433) -- 9 a.m.-7 p.m. April 21 and May 10.

Although registration during one of the April or May sessions is preferable, parents who are unable to attend any of those enrollment sessions can enroll their child by calling or visiting their preferred center as soon as possible to schedule an appointment at another time.

Prior to beginning the Head Start program this fall, parents must comply with several requirements. These include submitting for their child: an official copy of the child’s birth certificate (from the county clerk, not the hospital), proof of family income for the prior 12 months, a hemoglobin/hemocrit screening, current dental and physical examination forms including immunization records, tuberculosis screening and blood lead test. Parents should provide as much of this documentation as possible when registering their child and all must be in before classes begin in August.

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