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Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Thayer Head Start changes location

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Ken Franke, a volunteer, is helping remodel a portion of the old Thayer Elementary School where Thayer Head Start is relocating. Photo by Jan Thompson
THAYER -- The Thayer Head Start has moved from the Log Village to the old Thayer Elementary School.

According to Kathleen Simonson, Head Start program director, the remodeling at the new facility is almost done. They have remodeled one wing of the building and will use the other wing for storage.

"We will have eight good size classrooms and will currently only be using three of them," she said.

They have opened up the walls in the classrooms and added a kitchen and dinning room. Every classroom will have its own restroom for the children.

James Hunter, who lives in California, owns the old school building and paid for the remodeling, with the exception of the playground which was paid for by Head Start.

The center at Thayer can handle 20 children with one adult for every 10 children. The teacher at the center is Felcia Smith and the teacher's aides are LaDon Blankenship and Janice Williams.

Simonson oversees 15 Head Start centers in a six county area including Oregon County. Most of the remodeling at the building was done by Travis Body of Thayer and some volunteer work was done by Ken Franke of Thayer.

"We needed more room and the other center in the Log Village had two floors. When Mr. Hunter made us this offer we thought it would be a good idea," Simonson said.

Head Start is a federal program for preschool children from low income families. The Head Start program is operated by a local non-profit organization. In Oregon County that organization is Ozark Action.

Children who attend Head Start participate in a variety of educational activities. They also receive free medical and dental care, have heathy meals and snacks and enjoy playing indoors and outdoors in a safe setting.

Head Start helps all children succeed. Services are offered to meet the special needs of children with disabilities. Most children in Head Start are 3-and 4-year olds.

Head Start provides children with activities that help them grow mentally, socially, emotionally and physically.

Children who attend Head Start spend time in stimulating settings where they form good habits and enjoy playing with toys and working on tasks with classmates. Teachers think a child who attends Head Start is more prepared for kindergarten, excited about learning and ready to succeed.

Children who attend Head Start will also be examined by skilled professionals for any health problems. They will arrange vision and hearing tests and any needed immunizations. Head Start offers a nutrition assessment and dental exams for children as well. Children with health needs receive follow-up care.

Most children who attend Head Start attend a half-day centerbased program.

At Thayer, classes are from 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. and transportation is provided to as many children as possible.

Classroom time includes many different activities. Some teachers begin the day by asking the children to sit in a circle. This encourages the children to talk about an idea or experience they want to share with others. In some centers, the children plan their activities. They may choose among art, playing with blocks or table toys, science activities, dancing to music, looking at books, or pretend housekeeping.

Children can switch activities if they prefer another challenge.

Each day, they have time to work in a small group with other children and to play outdoors on safe playground equipment.

At lunchtime, children receive a nutritious meal and brush their teeth. All the children are taught to wash their hands before meals and are encouraged to develop good personal and health habits.

The Thayer Head Start Program has an on-going waiting list. "We ask that parents be involved in the Head Start program as much as possible," Smith said.

For more information about the Thayer Head Start Program or to see if there is a spot to enroll your child call 417-264-2089.

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