As early childhood education is essential, it is no surprise that institutions and agencies offer various access points, so kids do not skip this. Two popular options are preschool and Head Start, which often assume the same things.
The similarities and differences
Both education programs cater to young children as they progress to further learning developments before kindergarten. Generally, preschool and a stage in the Head Start framework are open to three-year-old kids. Other than these, both programs have distinct qualities:
Main target or objective. Private education institutions run most preschool programs, and so, many of these charge tuition payments that can be high or cost-efficient depending on their quality. In that sense, it is typical that parents pay the fees. But there are also private and public support programs that make preschool less expensive or no charge at all. Moreover, some proposals aim to support financing education for three-year-old kids. It is aside from universal preschool, which targets pre-k or four-year-old kids.
Head Start is a state-run program that targets kids from zero to age five from low-income families. Part of this program is also to free the education of three to five-year-old kids. Therefore, to be eligible for Head Start, a kid’s family earnings should be equal to or below the poverty line. Children from families not far from low-income can still try to be part of the program. However, its services are limited to a number or percentage of people. For example, the total participating kids above the poverty line should only take the ten percent of the class enrollees.
Standards. You can expect that the Head Start programs adhere to the standards set by the government. In that manner, there is uniformity in school rules, curriculum, and teaching approaches in this program across the US. Kids get the equal quality education that authority aims to achieve.
Preschool is not compulsory like kindergarten, so its standards are according to the private educational institutions and experts. Hence, the parents need to be particular about which school they will entrust their children with preschool education. The advantage of their students enrolling in quality ones is they are exposed to teaching and learning approaches that exceed the usual standards. Also, most preschool programs combine play-based learning with other styles to support the holistic growth of kids.
The choice between preschool and Head Start
Both Head Start and preschool offer benefits for students. The former concentrates on assisting underprivileged kids so that they can afford education. Moreover, Head Start also supports children’s health, social, and nutritional sides through various projects.
Several studies have proven that Head Start improves cognitive skills, behavior, and some traits of children. However, some reports also show that this program could not be enough to offer a long-lasting impact.
On the other hand, the benefits of preschool can be for everyone else. It also offers a level up in the learning aspect since it is its prime focus. The kids are encouraged to explore lessons and activities that they can take advantage of to nurture their learning abilities and be advanced in their schooling.