It’s hard to believe we are almost through April, and it is finally starting to look and feel like spring has arrived. This month, we are excited to feature a fantastic organization, ABC Head Start Society. Keep reading to find out more about the work they do in the community and how you can help support their efforts.
ABC Head Start Society is a registered charity with a 35-year legacy supporting families and closing communication and education gaps for vulnerable children.
What does ABC Head Start provide to the community?
Life’s early lessons are critical for children. We all remember formative moments in our younger years when something left a mark – either positive or negative – that changed the way we think or behave and can impact our experience even years later as adults. Unfortunately, not all children are born into equal opportunity for positive experiences in the early years. Some children have parents who can afford to enroll them in hockey, dance, music, or other activities from an early age, giving them access to diverse experiences while their brains are developing. Others have parents who are working three jobs to put food on the table and have less time to play and sing with them at home.
Early experiences in language-rich environments give children a head start when their minds are most pliable and ABC Head Start programs exist as an equalizer to make sure every child has access to language-rich environments with specialized attention. Whether children are experiencing learning delays, the impacts of poverty, or some other family vulnerability, ABC Head Start gives them a higher likelihood of finishing school with higher grades, and a higher earning potential enhancing their quality of life making a lasting difference to break the cycle of poverty.
ABC Head Start classrooms are led by an interdisciplinary team of teachers, educational assistants, speech-language pathologists, behaviour specialists, occupational therapists and therapy assistants. This team creates an individual learning plan for each child based on their unique needs, interests and learning styles; harnessing each child’s strengths in pursuit of their learning goals. This individualization helps children have equal opportunity to education and a joy for learning.
The organization serves many children between the ages of two years and five years old who are neurodiverse in their thinking, meaning they may be diagnosed or showing early evidence of Autism Spectrum Disorder, Attention Deficit Disorder, or another sensory processing or executive functioning condition.
ABC Head Start also serves children with learning delays, meaning their speech or motor skills are developing slower than their peers. In addition to these differences in learning pace and style, our children are often also coming from homes with food insecurity, low income, housing insecurity, and other impacts of poverty.
ABC Head Start has a significant impact on the families and children they serve in the community. For example, 97% of parents saw an improvement in their child’s joy for learning and 1,385 parents and caregivers are now more prepared to support their child’s development with the support of ABC Head Start.
How can you support their efforts?
Every year, ABC Head Start launches a campaign called “Literacy Backpack” where they collect funds to provide each one of the children attending their program with supplies. This includes a backpack full of items they need to go to kindergarten next year. Please visit their website for updates on the campaign.
We want to extend our sincere thanks to ABC Head Start for the incredible work they provide for children and families in our community!