Giving children a boost in learning: Kindergarten readiness plan available for low-income families

Published 12:00 pm Thursday, June 30, 2022

By Emily Burleigh

American Press

The Calcasieu Parish School Board offers six Early Childhood Development grant-funded programs for children who live below the poverty line.

The skills taught in these programs allow children to flourish.

“Early Childhood programs aid in the cognitive development of 3- and 4-year-olds by supporting them to develop an increased capacity to retain information, think critically, and focus,” said Michelle Joubert, administrative director of the Early Childhood Department.

“Early Childhood programs also enhance children’s cognitive development by enabling children to see connections between ideas, understanding cause and effect, and developing analytical thinking.”

Joubert said the Calcasieu Parish Early Childhood program does provide “at-risk” students with advantages when they enter grade school.

“The goal of the grant-funded program is to provide access to high-quality pre-kindergarten education for 4-year-old children from economically disadvantaged households, so they can be on the same level as their advantaged peers.”

CPSB’s Head Start and Pre-K programs require children to meet the age, income and residency requirements. To become eligible for Head Start and Pre-K Roundup, parents must provide the child’s certified birth certificate, social security card and up-to-date immunization cart. Proof of income and legal documentation of guardianship are also required.

Children must be 4 on or before Sept. 30, and must live in a household that has a total income that is 200 percent below the federal poverty line. Families receiving SNAP benefits are categorically eligible for the grant-funded programs, and children with an IFSP or IEP are able to be accepted in the program.

Participants are also required to live within Calcasieu Parish.

There are six available Head Start programs:

Brenda H. Hunter Head Start Center

DeQuincy Primary Head Start

J. D. Clifton Elementary Head Start

Jake Drost Head Start

J. F. Kennedy Head Start

J. I. Watson Head Start

Joubert said there is no deadline for enrollment, as students are registered all year.

These programs will begin at the start of the school year, Aug. 16.