School Readiness Programs
Head Start Community Program of Morris County, Inc. provides a free program for children and families at three sites in Morris County. The main facility in Dover houses nine full-day Head Start classrooms, and three full-day, full-year Early Head Start classrooms. Through a shared service arrangement with the County of Morris, we also provide six state-of-the-art, full-day Head Start classrooms at the Morris County Nonprofit Mall, located at the Central Avenue Complex at Central Park of Morris County, in Parsippany (Morris Plains mailing address). A two-classroom, full-day satellite preschool program is also located at Marie V. Duffy Elementary School in Wharton. Children from the Dover Public Schools, Wharton Borough Public Schools and Morris School District also receive inclusive preschool services through collaborative agreements with the Head Start Community Program of Morris County.
Head Start offers both home-based and center-based programs, with comprehensive services to address the physical, health, nutritional, developmental, educational and social-emotional needs of young children and their families. Pregnant women and children from birth to 18 months may be served through a home-based program. Children ages 18 months to three years may attend a full-day center-based program at our Dover site. Preschoolers, ages three to five, attend full-day center-based programs sites in Dover, Wharton, and Parsippany. The program serves a total of 333 children through federally funded Head Start and Early Head Start programs.
We ensure that pregnant women and enrolled children have health insurance and access to free or low-cost medical and dental care and that any medical/dental issues that are diagnosed are treated. Families in need are referred to the local Women, Infants and Children (WIC) program, which provides health services to pregnant women, breastfeeding women, non-breastfeeding postpartum women, infants and children. Benefits provided are supplemental nutritious foods, nutrition education, counseling, and screening and referrals to other health, welfare and social services. WIC provides services in nearby locations in Dover, Boonton and Morristown. WIC is by appointment only from the hours of 9:30am to 2:00pm. To make an appointment, call (973) 754-4575.
Our comprehensive services meet the needs of the whole child and family. Children receive a nutritious breakfast, lunch and snack daily. They are screened for disabilities and all children with special needs receive appropriate services. A popular Fatherhood Initiative, funded in part by the County of Morris, provides monthly education and support programs for fathers or adult male family members of Head Start and Early Head Start children. A research-based parenting curriculum from Vanderbilt University Center on the Social and Emotional Foundations for Early Learning (CSEFEL), Positive Solutions for Families, is offered to all Head Start and Early Head Start families, with monthly sessions and activities throughout the school year. The program is based on the nationally recognized Pyramid Model for Supporting Social Emotional Competence in Infants and Young Children, and aligns with our program-wide approach to positive behavior supports for children's social emotional development. An innovative Early Language and Literacy Program provides monthly literacy messages for families, along with new, high-quality bilingual children's books, helping families build home libraries and develop the habit of enjoying books with their children daily. All services are provided free of charge to enrolled families, and communications are provided in the home language of families served.
Family Engagement Specialists (FES) help families assess their needs and improve the conditions and quality of their lives. The FES conduct community outreach, make referrals, home visits, and educate families about available community resources and how to obtain and use them. Head Start also provides emergency assistance and crisis intervention in accordance with the needs of enrolled families. Parents are children’s first and most important teachers, and Head Start partners with parents in all phases of children’s education. Culturally and linguistically competent family engagement is a vital and dynamic aspect of Head Start programs.