JVS Students Gain a Head Start Through Head Start

posted 3/2/18 -- It’s right there in the name: Head Start. And for juniors in the Lorain County JVS Early Childhood Education program, this is exactly what they are getting, a head start in their career path.

Star Vaughn is one of these students and she is loving her time at the Amherst Head Start, located inside the Children’s Developmental Center.

“I want to be a kindergarten through third grade teacher and this experience is preparing me for that,” shared Vaughn.

During their junior year at JVS, students have the opportunity to participate in work-based learning experiences, where they are placed at different daycare or early childhood centers throughout the county. The students spend seven to eight days throughout a two month period at these centers, as an extension of their school program lab. This allows the students to gain real world experience as well as acquire new skills specific to the worksite.

Hilary Duffala, JVS Early Childhood Education junior class instructor, explained how the work-based learning process teaches and prepares her students.

“They get real-life experience in classrooms with students who have diverse backgrounds and needs. It is such an amazing experience for them,” Duffala said.

Leanna McGuire, Head Start teacher for more than six years, is thrilled when the JVS students are placed in her classroom.

“It is nice to have JVS students because they actually do this work in their lab every day and you can tell,” McGuire said. “The environment is not overwhelming to them, they already have a few good ideas, and they are coming into something they are comfortable with.”

Head Start is a comprehensive child development program funded by the federal government and the flagship program of Community Action Agencies throughout the nation. The entire family benefits from Head Start which prepares children for Kindergarten and academic success while promoting self-sufficiency in the children and their parents.

LCCAA has provided Head Start in Lorain County since 1966 and is the only Head Start provider the county has ever had.

Getting to see different types of curriculum and teaching strategies by other early childhood professionals is another important aspect of these work-based learning experiences, according to Duffala. Her students get prepared for these experiences from the work they do in their JVS lab, where they run and operate a preschool program.

The junior students operate the four to five year old preschool and are responsible to plan, conduct and evaluate developmentally appropriate activities based on a weekly theme.

Alexis Weaver, JVS Early Childhood Education junior, shared how the work in her JVS lab prepared her for her time at Head Start. “I felt ready with what I needed when I started my time at Head Start because in my JVS program we do lesson plans every week and I was able to bring those ideas with me here.”