March 18, 2013

Head Start registration planned for April, May

by Christi Mathis

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

The pre-kindergarten program serves children and families from Jackson and Williamson counties at six different locations, with enrollment sessions set for several times and locations this spring.

To be eligible to attend the Head Start program, a child must be at least three years old by Sept. 1, 2013, but not old enough to attend kindergarten.  Preschool children with disabilities, foster children and homeless children/families have priority enrollment status.

Head Start offers 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, free bus transportation is available in designated service areas.

If possible, parents should call in advance for an appointment during 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 11 and 29.
  • John A. Logan Co-Location at John A. Logan College in Carterville (618/997-2216, ext. 229, or 618/985-3741, ext. 8241) -- 4:30-6:30 p.m., April 10.
  • Johnston City Center, 901 Prosperity Ave., Johnston City (618/983-8459) -- 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. each day, May 22 and 23.
  • Malone’s Co-Location at 108 Walnut St. in Carterville (618/997-2216, ext. 229, or 618/985-3366) -- 4:30-6:30 p.m., April 10.
  • Marion Center, 907 N. Vicksburg St., Marion (618/997-4255) -- 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. each day,  April 18 and May 7.
  • Murphysboro Center, 9822 Illinois Route 149, Murphysboro (618/687-4433) -- 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. each day,  April 9 and 30.

The enrollment process, including completion of a written application, takes about an hour.  Children need not attend, unless registering at a co-location site. 

Although registration during one of the April or May sessions is preferable, parents who are unable to attend any of these 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, and copies of the child’s most recent health information.  The health information should include current dental and physical exams, including immunization records, tuberculosis screening, blood lead test, and hemoglobin/hematocrit screening.  Parents should provide as much of this documentation as possible when registering their child and all must be in before classes begin in August.

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