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Head Start has positive impact

Head Start is a program that does exactly what its name says: Gives children a jump on their education and a jump in life.

Here in Lawrence County, the Ironton-Lawrence County Community Action Organization operates this federally funded program that it is far more than just babysitting.

Called the Lawrence County Early Childhood Academy, the program offers comprehensive opportunities for children from birth to the age of five when they should begin attending school.

All are education-based and provide the support, nutrition and curriculum that help students succeed.

But Head Start, and other programs like it, have been feeling the effects of the down economy and tightening government budgets.

So it should be encouraging to all parents that the Head Start program received some positive news this week as it was awarded more than $223,000 in federal grant monies to save four teaching positions, a grant that was administered by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

This will allow the CAO to save four teacher positions and allow 32 more students to enroll at the Early Childhood Academy.

U.S. Rep. Charlie Wilson worked to help secure these funds for the CAO and should be commended for his efforts to support an organization that has had tremendous impact on countless lives.

The stereotype is that it is only for low-income children but that isn’t the case any longer. The Lawrence County Early Childhood Academy offers a variety of programs, regardless of income.

Since its inception in 1965, Head Start has helped prepare 25 million pre-school aged children for kindergarten through comprehensive education, health, nutrition and parent-involvement services.

Locally, the ability to keep four educators within the program, adding students but maintaining an acceptable student-teacher ratio is extremely important.

Learning doesn’t begin in kindergarten and the Lawrence County Early Childhood Academy will be able to continue to be there for students before they enter the the actual school system.