Helping build bright futures for young children through education, support, nutrition, enrichment, health and safety is what the Semcac Head Start program is all about. Spring Grove has the opportunity to be a Head Start location if it is determined there are enough families interested.

Head Start offers medical, dental, nutrition and additional comprehensive services to encourage healthy living, not only for the children, but the entire family. These services include height and weight checks, and vision and hearing checks throughout the year. Families are given support through classes and activities for parents and children.

“We know it is important to look at the whole child as we prepare them for school,” explained Bethany Bergsgaard, The Beary Patch Preschool lead instructor. “Academics are just one aspect of a healthy child; through Head Start, they help support families so that children are also receiving the medical, dental, and nutritional support that they need to begin school as healthy children.”

There are Head Start locations throughout Houston County, and soon a location will be added in Spring Grove through The Beary Patch Preschool. In order for this site to be finalized, five families need to enroll in the program. Qualifications for the program are mainly based on income, but there are also other factors that are taken into consideration. An example of income eligibility is a family of four with earnings of $24,250 per year.

“We want every child to have early learning services such as preschool without money being an obstacle,” said Spring Grove School Superintendent Rachel Udstuen. “Head Start is an opportunity for children to be in a quality preschool program plus receive other services to help support a healthy child and family. We encourage families to take advantage of this program and all that it has to offer.”

The Beary Patch Preschool is a qualified, licensed preschool for the Head Start program. They are now offering all-day preschool for pre-K/4-year old children three days a week. They also offer an early preschool program for 3-year old children two days a week.

Families interested in the Head Start program can contact Bergsgaard at The Beary Patch Preschool, (507) 498-5100, or fill out a Head Start application online at www.semcac.org or contact the Houston County Semcac Outreach Services program coordinator Jenny Slabaugh at (507) 725-3677.

“We don’t want to miss out on the opportunity to have a Head Start program in Spring Grove, so we strongly encourage families to apply within the next two weeks,” added Bergsgaard. “We want families to have their paperwork in place and have children able to begin preschool when it starts on Sept. 8.”