What Age Is Right for Head Start?

Updated on August 07, 2008
T.C. asks from Peru, NY
4 answers

My son Adam, will be three at the end of August. He has an IEP due to a significant speech delay. At our last meeting with the service coordinator, my husband, the therapist, and the coordinator ganged up on me and thought it would be best to apply for the Head Start program for Adam because he would get a lot of social interaction, more help etc. I don't have a problem with him getting more help and playing wih other kids. The thing I have a problem with is that our Head Start program is five days a week from 8am until 2pm and the class size is 15 to 18 kids. Personally I think Adam, since he will barely be three and has this speech delay, is too young first of all to go five days a week! and secondly I think the hours are too long for that age. If he was four going on five I think I would feel differently about it because he would be preparing for kindergarten. But to me he just seems to young at that age to go for such a long time. When did kids stop needing to just be with their parents?? So I need some advice on what to do. Do I stand my ground against my husband and Adam's therapist etc, or do I just suck it up and let him go because it might be good for him? And how does he tell me if something is wrong when he isn't communicating well yet? Does anyone else have their barely 3 year old in a program that is this long? I don't know what to do!!!

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So What Happened?

So I didn't sign Adam up for Head Start. I just couldn't in good conscience do it! I did however have the perfect solution fall into my lap. There is a preschool in our town that is highly recommended and it needed three year olds! Adam will be the youngest in the class, but his teacher thinks it will be ok. The program is only two days a week for 2 1/2 hours a day. Perfect! And he can continue to get his speech therapy at home. Thanks everyone for all of your responses!

More Answers



answers from Hartford on

Hmmm, this is a tough one. I'm not in your position, so I'm not entirely sure what I would do. I, too, believe that children are taken from the home too soon for "structured" lessons, but if it is necessary........ Anyway, here are the steps that I would take in order to make an informed decision that I would be comfortable with. First, talk this whole thing over with just your husband. Pros/cons/everything--and come up with a list of questions. Do some research on the program itself. If this really is the best thing for him, you don't want to deprive him if it's necessary. Based on some of the concerns that you have listed, see if it is possible to have him go part of the time--whether it be a little each day, only a couple/few full days; what are any and all of your available options where this is concerned? This website is a good way to communicate, but also get in touch with the Head Start program in your area specifically and ask to be put in touch with others already enrolled to get an idea of what it's like and how things are going.
Hope that this gives you a bit of a start. I'd love to know how things work out.



answers from Barnstable on

Hi T.!
As a former special ed. preschool teacher, I know the importance of preschool for children with and without delays. With that said, many programs allow children to come 2-3 times a week for a few hours. What town are you in? Is there a program at your public school? I personally believe five days a week, full time is a lot for a three year old, especially if you're at home.
Maybe you could see how flexible the Head Start is...could your son attend a couple days a week? As he gets older, you can increase the time...
Good luck!



answers from Boston on

Hi T.,

I tend to agree that he should have some social interaction but not necessarily full time. I think I would go to your head start program and address your concerns. Perhaps he could go half days a few days a week or 2 full days or start out part time and work up to full time, what ever you think would be good for him.



answers from Springfield on

I also have a three year old with a speech delay. He was in Early Intervention with an IFSP from 18 months to 3 years, and then he started at the public preschool with speech therapy, two mornings a week on his third birthday.

I agree with you...five days a week, full day, is RIDICULOUS for a child that young. That's really sick. If you have to enroll your child in day care because you are working, that is one thing, but there is nothing beneficial about putting a two year old in full day school.

I would absolutely NOT put my child in HeadStart. When he turns 3, he'll be eligible for services through the public school. Check out the public school for speech therapy. If you don't have public preschool, look into private preschools for a two day a week program.

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