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Head start celebrates 50 years of promoting education and health

CELEBRATION TIME: Children at Picayune’s Early Head Start participated in a number of activities in recognition of the program’s 50th anniversary. Photo by Jeremy Pittari

CELEBRATION TIME: Children at Picayune’s Early Head Start participated in a number of activities in recognition of the program’s 50th anniversary.
Photo by Jeremy Pittari

Children at Picayune’s Early Head Start participated in a 50-year celebration of the Head Start Program.

During the course of the day the children participated in activities that included associating fruit with colors, mixing colors and finger painting, said Early Head Start Director Dr. Pamela Thomas.

This celebration comes at a time when the program is looking to expand in two ways.

Thomas said the program is applying for an expansion grant that would allow them to bring the program to children in local day cares, such as the Pearl River Community College, McCarthy’s Learning Center and Annie’s Kindergarten.

If approved, this program will open up many slots for children to receive the same instructional and health care at the day cares as those at Early Head Start.

The $1.8 million grant will provide care for 72 additional children, Thomas said.

Secondly, the Mississippi Action for Progress contract is up for bid due to discrepancies, Thomas said. Early Head Start intends to put in a bid, which could mean opening up the program to children of all backgrounds, not just the financially disadvantaged. Thomas said this could mean an additional $40 million for the program, providing care for 200 children in Pearl River County and Hancock County.

“So we are looking at a lot of changes to serve children all the way from birth to twelfth grade,” Thomas said.