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New Mexico State University

New Mexico State University

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Head Start expands technology at nine centers in Dona Ana County

The Dona Ana County Head Start, locally administered through New Mexico State University, will expand technology in Head Start classrooms throughout the county with a grant of more than $26,000 from the regional Administration for Children and Families office.

ad Start centers will receive "state-of-the-art" computer systems and bilingual software appropriate for young learners, said Mary Jane Embury, director.

Dona Ana County Head Start is a federally funded, comprehensive preschool program with centers in Mesilla, Anthony, Vado, Las Cruces and on the New Mexico State campus. The program, funded by the Department of Health and Human Services' Administration for Children, Youth and Families, serves children and families of limited income as well as children with disabling conditions, between the ages of 3 and 5. Initiated in 1984, Dona Ana County Head Start classes operate four days a week from mid-August to mid-May.

In addition to providing educational services to children and families, Dona Ana County Head Start provides nutritional, medical, dental, mental health, parent involvement, transition and disability services to 258 participating families.

"Head Start has had a tremendous impact on improving the lives of children and families in our county," Embury said. "Not only does Head Start promote early literacy and a comprehensive early childhood program, but it contributes to improved health care for young children. Head Start continues to foster a greater awareness among parents as to the needs of their preschool children."

Joining children, families and staff from Head Start centers across the country, Dona Ana County Head Start is celebrating Head Start Awareness Month in October.

The overall goal of the Head Start program nationwide, which started in 1965, is to bring about a greater degree of social competence in children of low-income families. The program approach is based on the philosophy that a child can benefit most from a comprehensive development program and that a child's entire family and the community must be involved.

In celebration of Head Start Awareness Month, the local program staff, parents, Policy Council members, community partners and volunteers will wear red ribbons. For more information call (505) 647-8733.