Montgomery County Early Learning Center
“Teach, Learn, Live”
The Montgomery County Early Learning Center (MCELC) is a blended Head Start/Kentucky Education Reform Act (KERA) Preschool Program located in rural Central Kentucky in a county with approximately 35,000 residents countywide. MCELC serves 97 Head Start children and serves 123 KERA children. These children along with the Head Start enrollment must meet specific income guidelines and/or have special needs.
“Teach, Learn, Live”
MCELC Head Start and KERA program provides a nurturing, caring, and learning experience. We are committed in developing individual potential and making a positive difference for children, families, staff, and community.
MCELC will serve children and families through the implementation of a high quality program that meets the needs of children and their families by providing strong support in best practices of child development. It is our MISSION to utilize public and private resources, which will provide assistance and opportunities for the family to improve the quality of their lives and to help their children reach their full potential. We will maintain a leadership position in the provision of quality services to our students and their families, making a positive difference in their lives. We are family centered and child focused. We will continue to be advocates for our participants through collaborative partnerships, which will have a positive impact on the community, meet the comprehensive needs of those we serve, and provide unique professional and personal development opportunities for staff, parents and community members.
The MCELC employs certified teachers with four-year degrees in Early Interdisciplinary Childhood Education and educational assistants who hold Child Development Association (CDA) certification. The MCELC has intensified its efforts to align our curriculum to meet Head Start Child Outcomes, Kentucky Early Childhood Standards, and KERA Kindergarten requirements. The MCELC director and teaching staff continually collaborate to enhance curriculum to include pre-reading, math, and problem solving skills. While our program is geared toward a more academic curriculum, staff maintains the importance of helping children develop appropriate social skills. To assist in this area MCELC has adopted a violence prevention program known as Second Steps. This is just one of the many components of our curriculum that is designed to meet the developmental, social and educational needs of the children within the program.
In order for each child to become academically and socially successful, three times per school year our early educators utilize individual checklists of developmentally appropriate skills based on Kentucky Early Childhood Standards and Head Start Outcomes. These checklists are used to individually plan and implement daily activities for three and four year old children. Children are also monitored and assessed using the Creative Curriculum Continuum and weekly anecdotal records. All teachers and assistants conduct three home visits per family each school year. In addition to these home visits, teachers also conduct at least two parent-teacher conferences at school with each family. It is the belief of the MCELC that teaching staff and parents must keep in constant contact with each other in order to provide better services to the children. Each child entering MCELC is given the Dial-R screening to check for possible delays in motor, cognitive, and language areas. Following an intervention period a certified teacher with parental permission then gives children who show a potential area of concern a Battelle Developmental Inventory test to determine if an actual delay is evident.
The MCELC program works intensively with the local elementary schools to transition children from Head Start/Preschool into Kindergarten. Each Head Start/Preschool child is given an opportunity to visit the elementary school he/she will be attending the following year to tour the school and meet the Kindergarten teachers, special activity teachers, and the school principal. Each child transitioning from Head Start/Preschool to Kindergarten is given an activity packet filled with activities for children and parents to work on throughout the summer to further prepare their child for the Kindergarten experience. MCELC staff sends compiled samples of each child’s work throughout their preschool experience to help the Kindergarten teacher become familiar with the child.
All children entering the MCELC are required to have a physical (including a blood count), an eye exam by an eye specialist, and updated immunization record. Family Service staff assists parents in obtaining physicals, eye exams, and immunizations when necessary. MCELC has a registered nurse on staff to assist with giving medications, administering general first aid, carrying our individual health plans and fulfilling the health needs of the students while on site.
The MCELC has a contract with local school board’s school psychologist to provide mental health evaluations for children, classroom observations, and family therapy if needed and desired. The program also makes referrals to the local Pathways.
The program’s family service staff is responsible for obtaining Family Portfolios and Partnership Agreements will all Head Start/KERA families enrolled in the program. The family service staff helps identify the needs and concerns of each family. The family service staff works with each family to identify and set goals that the family feels are important for them to work toward (i.e. going back to school, moving to a better neighborhood, etc.) The family service staff helps link the family with other agencies that can help them meet their goals. The family service staff has developed Partnership Agreements with many local agencies and businesses to assist in providing the needs and goals of each family throughout the school year. The family service staff is responsible for organizing and facilitating monthly parent trainings crisis intervention, parent involvement, fatherhood involvement as well as educating parents on various other topics.