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Education

Kids Plant Rose Bushes for Head Start's 50th

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submitted
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Horace Mann Early Learning Center

Pre-schoolers all over the country planted rose bushes Monday to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Head Start. At Horace Mann Early Learning Center and other pre-schools in the Rock Island district, more than 300 three-to-four-year-olds participated in the ceremonies.

Director Nicole Berry says President Lyndon Johnson began Head Start in 1965 as an eight week summer program. Since then it has expanded to provide comprehensive services during the school year.
The Rock Island School District works with about 100 local agencies, providing resources to Head Start kids and their parents. For example every month, the University of Illinois Extension teaches a class about food and nutrition. Berry also says her staff helps families find medical and dental care for their young children.

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Credit submitted / Horace Mann Early Learning Center
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Horace Mann Early Learning Center
Kids at Horace Mann Early Learning Center in Rock Island

The federal government pays for Head Start, and families must meet income guidelines. Those who don't may still qualify for their kids to attend Pre-school for All. The Horace Mann Early Learning Center also serves about 60 children with special needs.

The Rock Island School District's Head Start program has a waiting list of 70 to 75 students, but Berry says most of them aren't on the list for very long.