Claudia has been working with the Community Action Head Start program in Lockhart for the past four years. She learned about the program when she was taking ESL classes at the Lockhart Adult Learning Center. Three of Claudia’s four children have taken advantage of the program and she says that she can see the difference the program has had on her children.
Angela, her oldest daughter, is seven now and a Head Start graduate. Angela, Claudia explains, is more academically inclined, her English pronunciation is more American and she is better able to solve problems and come up with her own solutions as compared to her older brother. Sebastian, Claudia’s three-year old, is currently enrolled in Head Start and Claudia says that he prefers to play outside, read, or color over watching TV, while her oldest son is a TV watcher. She credits this difference to the Head Start program. Because Claudia’s three youngest children participated in the Head Start program they are prepared to be challenged academically in pre-K and beyond. She is confident that all of her children will be successful, but that her younger three will not struggle as much because they have the benefit of being Head Start graduates.
Head Start has made a difference in Claudia’s life as well. While her children are in Head Start, Claudia was able to earn her GED last July and she is still attending ESL classes. “It’s [easier] because I’m not concerned about where are my kids, or who is watching my kids. I know they are safe here.” Belma, Claudia’s family advocate, has been a great resource for Claudia and her family. “She is friendly, all the time she is asking questions: what are you doing? Are you okay? Do you need something? She is really, really friendly.” When Claudia was pregnant, Belma provided resources about pre-natal care and instructed Claudia in parent education classes as well. Head Start parent education classes are held once per month and they cover a range of topics including how to manage stress, how to budget, how to provide proper nutrition for children and how to teach math at home.
Claudia values the experience that she has had with Community Action’s Head Start. “The teachers are very friendly and they are very nurturing…and Belma is very friendly. She helps me all the time.”