The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

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May 20, 2006

Getting A Head Start

Small Fry Showdown provides fun-filled day for pre-school children

Editor’s note: This is the third in a series of Sunday articles detailing programs of the Raleigh County Community Action Association.

Though their school year is winding down, close to 400 pre-school students got wound up Friday as they participated in the Raleigh County Community Action Association’s Head Start Small Fry Showdown at the YMCA Youth Sports Complex.

The event, which was similar to an elementary school field day, pitted seven teams composed of 60 students against one another in various competitions such as an obstacle course, relay race, hurdles and sack races.

Head Start Director Sharon Meadows said the event was planned in conjunction with National Community Action Month, and served as not only a fun end-of-the-year event, but also as a day promoting health, safety and family togetherness.

Carnival-style booths with games were set up around the field for parents and children to visit between activities.

Also, several information booths were open and the Beckley Fire Department was on hand with the smoke house used to help children learn the stop, drop and roll technique.

“It’s a family event,” she said. “We concentrate on safety and health. We’re trying to keep the kids in shape. The kids are helped if they’re active and it cuts down in obesity.

“We also see better behavior when they’re active.”

The team with the best combined times on all the events received trophies, and each child was given a backpack with transitional activities for the summer months.

As the school year comes to an end, Meadows says Head Start is already recruiting for 2006-07.

A federally funded program, Head Start was established in 1965 under the presidential administration of Lyndon B. Johnson.

Head Start, which also accepts children with disabilities, offers a comprehensive pre-school program providing children ages 3 to 5 an opportunity to develop skills in kindergarten readiness, early literacy, early numeracy, socialization, health, nutrition, vocabulary and readiness.

Families of Head Start students also receive health, mental, nutrition, transportation, family and social services.

Meadows says half-day and six-hour schedules are available at various locations throughout Raleigh County.

Applications are available at the Central Head Start location at 114 Lebanon Lane in Beckley.

Anyone with questions regarding the program can call Meadows at 252-6369.

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