New Head Start program in Courtland called ‘launching pad for dreams’Published 11:19am Thursday, October 17, 2013
COURTLAND—The Courtland Head Start and Early Head Start Center is more than a place for small children to learn. That philosophy was emphasized Wednesday morning during the open house in the recently renovated Courtland Elementary School.
Both programs are under the umbrella of The Children’s Center, which has an inclusive mission statement: “We nurture and educate children and their families.”
Theresa Long, manager of Family Services, sees the organization as something extra.
“We’re a launching pad for dreams. The staff are merchants of hope and the children are our inspiration,” Long said. “We honor and thank and celebrate the families.”
She also assured everyone the site was fully prepared to ensure children would be all set for kindergarten.
“We are more than ready to meet your children’s needs. It’s not just a goal. It’s a passion,” added Long.
She also encouraged parents to partner with the organization by actively participating in their youngsters’ development.
Sharon Britt-Eley, a friend and colleague, remembered the late Tammy Warren for her own engagement as a teacher.
She said Warren had persuaded her to enroll her own children into the Head Start Program years ago, and then to become a teacher as well.
“Tammy was as much a sister as a friend,” said Britt-Eley.
Rosalind Cutchins, acting executive director, added that Warren’s faith “was her core and foundation. We have been blessed by her leadership and continue to be.”
Celebrating its 30th anniversary this year, the Children’s Center had received a Head Start grant for the entire program in July 2012, said Jeff Zeigler, coordinator of Community Relations.
The old school was open for inspection the last week of that month and a lot of damage was evident, particularly with the roof, which still needs replacing.
Cutchins said during her remarks that they weren’t sure it would happen.
But the decision was made to proceed and ownership became effective Sept. 1.
“Now it’s a warm and welcoming place,” said Cutchins.
By Sept. 3 of this year, Early Head Start in Courtland was open; Head Start began Sept. 9. Zeigler added that the program years start differently.
Early Head Start is for toddlers to age 3 and Head Start is for preschoolers ages 3 to 5, explained Tami Rittenhouse, director of Head Start.
Parents, board members, school officials, sponsors and other guests were invited to tour the facility and see the children’s learning in progress.
Shante Deloatch of Boykins said she got into the Head Start when she was pregnant with her child, Amarion Holloway, 3.
Today, she added, “His vocabulary is high, and he communicates very well.”
Maurice Epps of Courtland has his daughter, Imani Epps, 3, and niece, Ameya Johnson, 4, in Head Start.
“I just knew it was a good program,” he said about their enrollment.