Head Start classrooms follow local school district calendars during the school year. All children receive two or three free meals (depending on session times) including breakfast, lunch and afternoon snack.

Parents may call the USD Head Start office at 800-813-8132 or visit the Head Start website to download an application, www.usd.edu/headstart.

Details for each site are as follows:

·      CANTON – The Canton preschool classroom is located in the Canton Early Learning Center. There are two session times, each running for 3.5 hours, Monday through Thursday.
·      DAKOTA VALLEY/NORTH SIOUX CITY - The Dakota Valley preschool classroom is located in the Dakota Valley Middle School building and offers extended day services. Classes run from 8:30 a.m. to 2:45 p.m., Monday through Friday.
·      HARRISBURG – The Harrisburg Preschool classroom will move to Horizon Elementary this year. There are two session times, each running for 3.5 hours, Monday through Thursday.
·      ELK POINT – The Elk Point pre-school classroom is located in the Elk Point/Jefferson school. Children attend an afternoon 3.5-hour session, Monday through Thursday.
·      TEA - The Tea preschool classroom is located in the Tea School District Education Center offering extended day services. Extended day services include expanded 6+ hours of instruction each day, five-days-a-week.
·      VERMILLION - In Vermillion, families have three different options to choose from for pre-school programming. Options include the traditional 3.5-hour day half-day program, a full-day/full-year year program that includes wrap around childcare services, or the extended day option. Extended day services include expanded 6+ hours of instruction, five-days-a-week. Classroom locations include Trinity Lutheran Church, Center for Children and Families, and Vucurevich Child Care Center.
·      BERESFORD – The Beresford preschool classroom is located at the Watch Puppy Depot in Beresford. Children attend an afternoon 3.5 hour session Monday through Thursday.
·      CLAY, LINCOLN, UNION & TURNER COUNTIES - In-home Head Start programming may also be an option in the rural areas of Clay, Lincoln, Turner, and Union counties. In-home services include one weekly home visit designed to fit individual family needs and schedules. Home programming is designed to meet each child’s needs and abilities. Group social events are held twice a month.

Head Start provides the highest quality early childhood education following the South Dakota Early Learning Guidelines. All teaching staff have a four-year education degree and classroom aides either have, or work toward, a child development associate degree. Classrooms are equipped to serve children at every ability level.

“We believe that children learn best through play.” commented Carmen Stewart, Director of USD Head Start. “We use the Creative Curriculum in our classrooms which provides the foundation for children to learn language, literacy development, math, science, and social emotional skills while exploring life through creative play.”  

USD Head Start provides no-cost preschool as well as early childhood in-home education programming for families, including expecting mothers and children birth to age five. USD Head Start operates classrooms in Harrisburg, Tea, Dakota Valley (North Sioux City), Beresford, Elk Point, Canton, and Vermillion. In-home services are offered in all counties served.

Families participating in Head Start receive comprehensive services including, education, family support, nutrition, health, dental, and mental health. The University of South Dakota has sponsored the Head Start grant funded program for forty-one years, serving Clay, Lincoln, Union and Turner counties in southeast South Dakota.

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Hanna DeLange
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