Strengthening the Head Start Legacy: Growth, Health and Justice

Instructor Name: 
Marylin Kissinger
Course Description: 

Head Start is this nation's largest investment in young children to date. It is also one of the few remaining efforts from the 1960's "War on Poverty". Each student will study a local Head Start Program in their own community, and depending on geography may work with a Team in this effort.

Students will do all or some of the following:

• review data and documentation of the historical successes and challenges of Head Start; 

• analyze and reflect on the impact it has had in communities;

• learn about participatory-action based research

• design a needs assessment for Head Start Program

• facilitate a participatory Focus Group with Stakeholders from the local Head Start Program;

• design a collective action project in conjunction with Head Start community participants that will enhance or improve the health, growth or justice in that Head Start Community.


Learning Objectives: 

• to develop an understanding of the purpose and history of the Head Start Program

• to recognize the trends and emerging challenges for impoverished communities

• to learn about and then complete a qualitative/participatory research project and process based on the Popular Education model used at Highlander Education and Research Center

• to study and use an informal needs assessment (also a part of the Highlander methodology) to identify existing strengths and gaps in services or areas of ineffective response to community problems in local Head Start Program Services

• to practice developing a responsive, community generated process to identify, strategize and select a problem for collective (group of invested stake holders from Head Start) action.

• to understand libratory leadership working as an agent for social change

• to practice using the analysis of dynamics of oppression as a tool for promoting institutional and community change