March 30, 2017

Head Start fall registration begins next week

by Christi Mathis

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Registration for the fall 2017 session of Southern Illinois University Carbondale’s Head Start kicks off in April.

The pre-kindergarten program serves children and families at three different locations in Jackson and Williamson counties. To be eligible, a child residing in one of those counties must be at least three years old by Sept. 1, 2017, but not yet old enough to attend kindergarten.

The classes start in August. The program attendance options include weekday mornings, afternoons, or extended or full-day sessions. There is no cost for the partial-day programs. The fees for the full-day Head Start are determined by family eligibility and income.  

Officials encourage families of all eligible children to apply. Children with disabilities, foster children and homeless children/families receive enrollment priority status.

Free bus transportation is provided within designated areas.

Head Start registration sessions are planned at the various program sites during the month of April. Parents should call to schedule an appointment during any of the sessions. The registration schedule, including locations, times, dates and telephone numbers, includes:

  • Carbondale Center, 1900 N. Illinois Ave., Carbondale, 618/453-2440, April 4 and 27 from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
  • Murphysboro Center, located at McElvain School, 593 Ava Road, Murphysboro, 618/687-4433, April 10 and 26 from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
  • Marion Center, 907 N. Vicksburg St., Marion, 618/997-4255, April 6 and 24 from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

The enrollment application process takes about an hour to complete and children do not need to be there. Parents or guardians who are unable to attend one of the scheduled registration sessions should call or visit their preferred Head Start location as soon as possible to make an appointment at a different time.

Before the children can start the preschool this fall, a few health-related and other requirements must be met. Parents or guardians should bring to the enrollment appointment as many of these items as possible: a copy of the child’s official birth certificate; evidence of residency; proof of family 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 testing and blood lead testing. All of these items must be submitted before children can attend the program.

The Jackson and Williamson counties Head Start preschools are directed by SIU Carbondale, with federal funding.

For more information, contact the Head Start Administration Office at 618/453-6448. The office hours are 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.