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McIntosh Trail welcomes new Head Start class

Photo by Johnny Jackson 
Three families, who will be participating in the McIntosh Trail Early Head Start Program, were on hand for the program's open house. The  program offers childhood-developmnent classes for infants and toddlers.

Photo by Johnny Jackson Three families, who will be participating in the McIntosh Trail Early Head Start Program, were on hand for the program's open house. The program offers childhood-developmnent classes for infants and toddlers.

By Johnny Jackson

jjackson@henryherald.com

Classes start Monday for the McIntosh Trail Early Head Start Program in Locust Grove. Sha'Candilus Green said she enrolled her 21-month-old daughter, Marriah Smith, in the program to learn how to interact with other children.

"We're trying to see how she'd like it," Green said. "She's outgoing and curious, once she's learned her environment."

Other families filtered into the Locust Grove Academy daycare facility on Friday, taking part in an Open House for infants and toddlers in a newly created McIntosh Trail Head Start Program, specifically geared toward infants and toddlers.

The program was created from education funding through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, according to Bertha Taylor, the family partnership administrator for the McIntosh Trail Early Childhood Development Council in Jackson, Ga.

Cynthia Goodman, center manager for the McIntosh Trail Head Start and Pre-K Program in Locust Grove, said the two-year grant will enable the free-tuition program to enroll 16 early Head Start pupils (ages birth to 3 years old) in the Henry County area, and others in surrounding counties.

She said part of the stimulus funding will be divided among four of the seven south metro-Atlanta counties in the McIntosh Trail coverage area, including Henry, Butts, Spalding, and Upson counties. She said the grant will create 10 early Head Start classrooms of eight within the four counties.

The McIntosh Trail Head Start Program in Locust Grove, located at 217 Ridge Street, will host two of the classes for infants, 0-1 year old, and for toddlers, 2-3 years old, with eight youngsters in each classroom. Goodman said the new program's classroom space will be at Locust Grove Academy, a nearby daycare and learning center, located at 84 Carter Lane in Locust Grove.

"I am excited about it because they can't learn too soon for me," she said. "There's a lot of hands-on activity in the program. We want to thank Locust Grove Academy for having us aboard."

During the open house, parents, Darryl and Tiffany Bobo, said they hope their daughter, 16-month-old Essence Bobo, will become more comfortable in social situations like the classroom environment offered in the program.

"Kids benefit from being in a classroom environment, because things you introduce them to now won't be so hard for them to grasp later," said Valerie Burnette, a caregiver in the infants class.

Burnette noted that McIntosh Trail's regular Head Start program of 34 pupils offers the High Scope Curriculum, but its early Head Start program incorporates the Creative Curriculum.

"Creative Curriculum involves recognizing colors and shapes, and learning personal hygiene," Burnette said. "My first lesson plan will be getting them familiar with our school. Then, we will work on getting to know the family."

Head Start officials said there are currently 15 individuals on the program's waiting list. However, interested parties should contact McIntosh Trail Head Start at (770) 957-3524, to learn more about its offerings.