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Murray Head Start offers wide range of services to schools throughout Jackson Purchase; health institute’s the latest

Murray Head Start offers wide range of services to schools throughout Jackson Purchase; health institute’s the latest

Murray Head Start recently was selected to participate in a national Head Start program and held its first health care institute at Graves County Central Elementary School, hosting Head Start parents from both the Graves County and Mayfield Independent school districts.

“It was a huge success,” said Murray Head Start director Carol Elder. “There was not an empty seat in the house,” added Whitney Pile, RN and health and nutrition specialist for Murray Head Start.

The Office of Head Start National Center on Health-University of California at Los Angeles Health Care Institute designed the program to empower and enhance parents’ self-esteem by providing them with tools and confidence to actively engage and participate in their child’s health care needs, according to the UCLA Anderson School of Management.

“The event in Mayfield-Graves County is part of Murray Head Start’s action plan for implementing this project throughout all of the communities in the Murray Head Start Program,” Elder explained.

“We made presentations and encouraged interactive conversation,” Pile said. “For example, ideas like preventative health care, making responsible decisions about when to take a child to the doctor’s office or hospital. The more tools parents can acquire and have in place when their child gets sick, the better equipped they are to deal with the situation.”

Murray Head Start collaborates with and serves the Jackson Purchase school districts of Ballard, Calloway, Carlisle, Fulton, Graves, Hickman, Marshall, and McCracken counties as well as the independent school districts of the cities of Fulton, Mayfield, and Murray. It also works with two universities, two local housing authorities, and a not-for-profit child care facility.

“Through the Early Head Start and Head Start programs, we provide services to families beginning with the pregnant mother and continuing through age 5 and the child's transition to Kindergarten,” Pile noted.

“The Murray Independent School District is the grantee for the program, and its board of education serves as our governing body,” Elder said. “An elected policy council, consisting of parents and community representative from each of the 11 school districts and Early Head Start also provide governance and serve as a link to the parent committees in each center.”

“Head Start is not only a program for the preschool child, it is also a program for the family,” she continued. “Parents and guardians are actively encouraged to participate in classroom and center activities.”

“Health and nutrition services for children are another important aspect of our program,” Pile said. “All children receive screenings in vision, hearing, dental, speech, and developmental areas when they are enrolled. Concerns we identify as a result of these screenings are then followed-up with treatments and/or referrals.”

“We’re very encouraged with the parental response to our first health care institute and look forward to similar success at our other locations,” Elder concluded.

To learn more about Murray Head Start, contact any of the Jackson Purchase school districts involved, phone (270) 753-6031, email carol.elder@murray.kyschools.us or log on to http://www.headstart.murray.kyschools.us.


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