For first time, Head Start centers will offer free community playgroup for non-students

For the first time, St. Charles Parish Public Schools’ Head Start centers will host a community playgroup targeting children ages four and under who are not enrolled in school or daycare. 

“Our management team and policy council met to see how we can increase our enrollment in our Head Start and Pre-K pro- grams. We currently hold playgroups monthly for our currently enrolled students, but (community playgroup) is a time for non-students and families to engage in activities,” Nicole Weber, Administrator of Head Start and 4-year-old Programs for the school system, said. “We mirrored what occurs at school sites, inviting families with children birth to four who are not currently enrolled in a school to come and see what our centers have to offer.” 

The main goal of the community playgroup is to expose the public to the school system’s Head Start sites to increase enrollment. 

“We wanted the chance to ‘showcase’ things that occur with our current students as well,” Weber said. 

Typically, around 20-25 students attend Head Start’s monthly playgroups, which are held at each of the school system’s Head Start campuses. 

The monthly group is for current students to participate in activities with their families, while the community playgroup is for non-students. 

The upcoming community playgroup, which is scheduled for Feb. 20 from 9:30 a.m. – 10:15 a.m. at Carver Early Learning Center, will be similar in format to that of the monthly playgroups. 

“Our monthly playgroups are a way to engage families in a child’s educational journey,” Weber said. “Pre- kindergarten is ‘where a child’s story begins,’ which is our motto. We utilize the current Pre-K curriculum to plan playgroup activities, so they are able to make classroom connections. Students and families practice social skills as well as academic skills. 

“We encourage fun, singing and dancing, too.” 

During the playgroups, families and students listen to stories, participate in music and movement activities, and create a craft. 

“One month students listened to ‘Pete the Cat Rocking in His School Shoes’ and created life-sized guitars to take home,” Weber added. 

For more information, contact (985) 783-6617. Carver Early Learning Center is located at 337 Gum St. in Hahnville.