Head Start and Early Head Start are the anchors of MICA's Early Childhood services. MICA opened the doors of its first Head Start classroom in 1964. Today, we have a total of 17 Head Start classrooms, three Early Head Start classrooms, and Early Head Start home-based services. Both programs are comprehensive in nature. They combine age-appropriate learning, social interaction, health screenings, nutrition education, strong parent involvement and family development.
To take an in-depth look at our Head Start and Early Head Start programs, check out our Head Start and Early Head Start Annual Report.
Sign Up For Early Childhood Services!
If you feel MICA's early childhood programs can help you and your family or if you have questions about Head Start or Early Head Start, please contact your local MICA Family Development Center listed below.
Hardin County Family Development Center
637 S. Oak Street
Iowa Falls, Iowa 50126
Marshall County Family Development Center
6 S. 2nd Street
Marshalltown, Iowa 50158
Poweshiek County Family Development Center
611 4th Avenue
Grinnell, Iowa 50112
Story County Family Development Center
230 SE 16th Street
Ames, Iowa 50010
Tama County Family Development Center
105 S. State Street
Tama, Iowa 52339
MICA's early childhood programs are generously supported in part by organizations such as IRVECA (Iowa River Valley Early Childhood Area) and BooST.
MICA staff strongly believe in the utilization of age-appropriate learning techniques and the individuality of each child. Based upon the results of parent input, teacher observations, and child screenings, activities are tailored, the curriculum adapted, and the physical environment modified to support each child's individual learning style and growth pattern. Children with identified developmental needs receive additional services in conjunction with community partners such as the Area Education Agency.
To build children's social skills, MICA staff engage children in socialization activities. Good social skills are key to a child's successful interaction with their peers, which in turn helps build a child's self-esteem. Studies show children with strong self-esteem are more likely to be successful later in life than children with low self-esteem.
Good health also plays a critical role in a child's development. To give Head Start and Early Head Start children a healthy start in their development, our staff make sure health screenings are conducted on every child enrolled in both programs. Children are screened for such health concerns as high blood lead levels, poor nutrition, poor dental health, and hearing and vision problems. Staff also educate parents about the importance of proper immunizations and refer them to appropriate health providers. Additionally, all meals and snacks served in MICA's classrooms are planned by Registered Dietitians and meet nutrition standards put forth by the Child and Adult Care Food Program. Regular nutrition activities also take place in the classroom, introducing children to new foods while educating them on the importance of a healthy diet.
Perhaps no element is as critical to a child's success as parent involvement. We believe parents are a child's first and most important teachers. MICA's Head Start and Early Head Start programs emphasize strong parental involvement. Head Start parents are encouraged to participate in the classroom, help set their child's educational goals, attend class field trips, and read and do educational activities with their child at home. Early Head Start parents are taught the stages of a child's development and activities they can do with their child to nurture her or his development. Through Policy Council and Parent Committees, Head Start and Early Head Start parents help shape the programs, making sure they continue to meet the needs of their family and child.
To strengthen the health and well-being of the entire family, Head Start and Early Head Start parents can also participate in Family Development. Through Family Development, MICA Family Development Specialists work one-on-one with families on issues that affect their overall success. In addition, parents can take part in parenting classes and fatherhood groups. All our efforts build on families' strengths, helping them create safer, more nurturing environments for their children.
Head Start gives children ages 3 and 4 the opportunity to grow and learn in a high quality early childhood setting. The program is specifically tailored to meet the educational and social needs of preschool-aged children. MICA has Head Start locations in Grinnell, Iowa Falls, Marshalltown, Nevada, and Tama. Head Start offers half-day and full-day classes with availability depending on the community.
Early Head Start
MICA offers classroom-based and home-based Early Head Start. The Early Head Start program is offered for children ages 0-3. Pregnant women can also register. Early Head Start involves educational experiences for both children and parents and offers families a wide range of free services designed to support the child and the family. Services include assistance in:
- Parent support and education opportunities
- Child development
- Family development
- Health services and screenings
- Good nutrition
In the operation of USDA's CACFP program no one will be discriminated against.
Civil Rights Statement:
This explains what to do if you believe you have been treated unfairly. In accordance with Federal Law and U.S. Department of Agriculture policy, this institute is prohibited from discriminating on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age, or disability. To file a complaint of discrimination, write USDA, Director, Office of Adjudication, 1400 Independence Avenue, SW, Washington, D.C. 20250-9410 or call toll free (866) 632-9992 (Voice). Individuals who are hearing impaired or have speech disabilities may contact USDA through the Federal Relay Service at (800) 877-8339; or (800) 845-6136 (Spanish). USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer.
Iowa Nondiscrimination Statement:
It is the policy of this provider not to discriminate on the basis of race, creed, color, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, disability, or religion in its programs, activities, or employment practices as required by the Iowa Code section 216.7 and 216.9. If you have questions or grievances related to compliance with this policy by this provider, please contact the Iowa Civil Rights Commission, Grimes State Office Building, 400 E. 14th St., Des Moines, IA 50319-1004; phone number 515-281-4121, 800-457-4416; web site: http://www.state.ia.us/government/crc/index.html.