March 02, 2016

Head Start registration begins in April

by Christi Mathis

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Registration begins in April for Southern Illinois University Carbondale’s fall 2016 Head Start session. 

The pre-kindergarten program serves children and families in Jackson and Williamson counties at four different locations. To be eligible, children must be at least three years old by Sept. 1, 2016, but not yet old enough to attend kindergarten. 

Classes will begin in August. The program offers weekday morning, afternoon and all-day sessions. The partial-day programs are free. The cost of the full-day Head Start is based upon family eligibility and income. 

Children with disabilities, foster children and homeless children receive priority status for program enrollment. Officials encourage all families with preschool-age children to apply. 

Free bus transportation is available within designated areas. 

Several Head Start enrollment sessions are scheduled at the various program sites during the month of April. Parents should call in advance to schedule an appointment during one of the sessions. 

The enrollment schedule, with locations, times, dates and telephone numbers, includes: 

  • Carbondale Center, 1900 N. Illinois Ave., Carbondale, 618/453-2440 -- 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., April 5 and 28.
  • Murphysboro Center, located at McElvain School, 593 Ava Road, Murphysboro, 618/453-0766 -- 10:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m., April 12 and 26.
  • Marion Center, 907 N. Vicksburg St., Marion, 618/997-4255 -- 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., April 6 and 19.
  • Malone’s co-location at Malone’s Early Learning Center, 108 Walnut St., Carterville, 618/453-6448 -- 3-6 p.m., April 13 and 27. 

It takes about an hour to complete the enrollment process and children do not need to attend. Anyone who is unable to attend one of the scheduled enrollment sessions should call or visit their preferred Head Start location as soon as possible to make an appointment at an alternative time. 

In order for children to attend the preschool, a few health-related and other requirements must be met. Parents or guardians should bring with them to the enrollment appointment as many of these items as possible: a copy of the child’s official birth certificate from the appropriate county clerk, not the hospital; proof of income from all sources for the past 12 months; and a copy of the child’s current dental and physical exams, including immunization records, tuberculosis and hemoglobin screening and blood lead testing. 

SIU Carbondale, with federal funding, directs the Jackson and Williamson counties Head Start programs. For additional information, contact the administrative office by calling 618/453-6448. The office is open from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.