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Paynesville Press - June 5,2002

Head Start ends for the year, invites applicants for 2002-03

By Bonnie Jo Hanson

Head start The Paynesville Head Start program held its end of the year picnic on Friday, May 29, at the Gazebo Park.

The Paynesville Head Start program is a state and federally funded program that helps qualified children, ages three to five, get ready for kindergarten.

Valerie Yanish, Amber Schmitz, and foster grandmother Katherine Halverson (at right) enjoy the Head Start picnic.

According to Mary Mackedanz, one of the program's teachers, the children attend Head Start on Tuesdays through Fridays from 8:30 to 11:30 a.m. A typical day includes going to the elementary school for breakfast and play, time for social interaction (songs, stories, and sharing), time for academics like learning colors and numbers, and time for independent learning.

The family-based program is taught by Mackedanz, Jill Eickhoff, foster grandmother Katherine Halverson, and Karla Stransky, who is also the program's bus driver.

There is also a family advocate, a nutritionist, a nurse, and a psychologist available to all enrolled families.

The program runs on the same calendar as the Paynesville Area Schools.

The Paynesville program had nine children this year but is licensed for 17 children. "I want families to know we're here and what we can do for them," said Mackedanz of the program.

Families qualify for the program if they meet federal income guidelines, if they have a foster child, or have a child with a documented disability. For more information or to enroll for the 2002-03 school year, call 1-877-848-4912.

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