Starting in September, preschoolers will have a place to attend head start in Chiloquin.
The Oregon Child Development Coalition received funding to start a Head Start program in Chiloquin this fall, restarting the program that closed last year. It will have open spots for 40 children, ages 3 to 5 in preschool. Head Start is a federal program promoting school readiness for children ages birth to 5 from low-income families.
“Since it’s brand new we’ve got to fill all 40 of them,” said Cary Kinkead, with the Oregon Child Development Coalition office in Klamath Falls. “We want to have as many kids signed up as we possibly can.”
Another program, Klamath Family Head Start, had to close its Chiloquin location after sequestration cut federal funding a year ago. Last year, Klamath Family Head Start faced a $93,000 cut, reducing the number of children it could serve by 10. In the 2013-14 school year, the program expected to serve three children in the Chiloquin area, though the year before it served 17.
The Head Start program starting in September is under another organization, the Oregon Child Development Coalition.
“We are a different organization. There are two different head starts in town,” Kinkead explained.
The Oregon Child Development Coalition has been around for 40 years and started by serving migrant and seasonal head start. It has Head Start programs in Malin and Klamath Falls. In addition to the 40 spots open in Chiloquin, the head start program has 38 spots in Klamath Falls, but some are already taken by returning children.
This coming week Kinkead will be at Chiloquin Elementary every day from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. to help families sign up for the new head start preschool.
When it starts in September, the Head Start will be four hours a day, four days a week, Monday through Thursday, at Chiloquin Elementary. Transportation and meals are provided.
The Oregon Child Development Coalition also is looking to hire staff for the Chiloquin program.
“We’re really hoping to make a go at it,” Kinkead said.