Promising Practices Program

Administering Organization

P.E.A.C.E., Inc., Syracuse, NY

Program Name

P.E.A.C.E., Inc. Head Start/Early Head Start (HS/EHS)

Program Objectives and Unique Needs Addressed

Head Start/Early Head Start seeks to develop self-reliance and social competence in children ages 0-5, and their families.  We believe that by providing a comprehensive family-centered program which fosters optimum growth and development in a nurturing, supportive setting, we will be able to accomplish this goal.  Our program is particularly designed to promote positive interactions between parents and their children.  We promote and encourage the involvement of the entire family system and community to foster family success.  

Program Description

P.E.A.C.E., Inc. administers both Head Start and Early Head Start programs. 

  • Early Head Start (EHS) promotes the physical, cognitive, social and emotional growth of infants and toddlers, and provides prenatal education and support services to pregnant women. 
  • Head Start (HS) helps children, ages 3 to 5 years of age, achieve their full potential by providing early childhood development, health, family services and other support to participants and their families.  

P.E.A.C.E., Inc.'s EHS/HS programs serve the refugee community by providing both center and home-based options for families:

  • Pre-school classrooms for 3 and 4 year olds
  • Full-day and part-day programs
  • Center-based infant and toddler programs
  • Home-based programs for pregnant women, infants, toddlers, and pre-schoolers ·         Day care centers with subsidy assistance
  • Limited transportation is provided, as well as assistance with alternative transportation arrangements  

Our intake department, with help from local refugee resettlement agencies, completes the intake process and determines eligibility.  When completing intakes for our program, the resettlement agency provides a space for EHS/HS intake workers to complete the paperwork for enrollment in a setting already familiar to families.  The resettlement program may also assist with interpreters to aid in the intake interview. Other assistance from the resettlement program can include making copies of forms and getting families to the interviews.    

We partner with Catholic Charities of Onondaga County to allow refugee families to enroll 4-year-old students in the program for an extended-day option.  This combination allows for a longer school day by combining two programs and providing transportation to and from each program. This option requires blending funding sources from each agency and helps meet families' scheduling needs.    

Our home-based department visits families at home on a weekly basis and provides families with activities to engage both parent and child.  This option has proven beneficial for refugee families that are more comfortable with a parent or close relative caring for children in the home.

Resource Materials Used in Program

  • Non-English speaking volunteers help with translations and classroom activities.
  • All monthly socialization activities have one interpreter to help families. 
  • Bilingual books are used with families to help introduce the English language to both child and parent.
  • Parent handbooks are made available in five languages: Arabic, Karen, Nepali, Somali, and Spanish.
  • "Rosetta Stone" computer-based language program is made available to families wanting to learn English.
  • Vans are available to transport families to medical appointments when necessary.
  • This year we will begin using voice recorders to convey messages to families.  The recorders contain prerecorded messages in various languages which can be used give the families updates, such as school closing, home visits, etc.
  • When visiting refugee families with a different concept of time, the home visitor brings a clock to demonstrate the start time and duration of each visit.

Groups Served by Program

P.E.A.C.E., Inc. HS/EHS program currently serves refugee families from Burma, Cuba, Nepal, and Somalia.   All of our refugee families are referred to us by the Center for New Americans or Catholic Charities of Onondaga County.  

Current enrollment is for 1,077 participants (863 from Head Start, and 214 from Early Head Start).  Approximately 16% of the children in the program are English language learners or speak a language other than English at home.

Program Funding

Public:

  • U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
  • New York State
  • Onondaga County  
Private:
  • Individuals and local foundations
  • In-kind (volunteer hours, professional/contract services, facilities)

Program Staffing and Required Staff Training

  • All staff members are required to attend two mandatory full-day Head Start specific training sessions.  Education staff will have an additional day.
  • All staff members are required to attend monthly informational sessions, site meetings, functional area specific meetings and / or individual staff planned development. ·         Education/Teaching staff provide classroom experience.
  • Home visitors provide comprehensive services in the home. 
  • Family & Community staff members provide intake, social services.
  • Nurses provide screenings and health intervention.
  • Busing garage provides transportation (limited).
  • Coordinators provide technical support for staff, and establish community partnerships.
  • Management team create infrastructure and develops policy and procedures.  

Program Evaluation

P.E.A.C.E., Inc. HS/EHS performs program evaluation in numerous ways.  Content area review includes, but is not limited to:

  • Client file review,
  • Classroom or home visit observations,
  • Safety checks, and
  • Site visits. 

Follow-up is planned after monthly visits and may include work plans to document action steps and due dates. Further monitoring occurs annually, as we compare program services from year to year, in order to measure the quality and quantity of the services provided to children and families.    

Secondly, we conduct an annual program self-assessment to measure compliance with the Head Start Act, HS Performance Standards, and internal policies and procedures.  The assessment is a "big picture" approach, looking across the entire program with a broad perspective.  It is a time for our program to look in the mirror and ask ourselves if our program is:

  • Complying with federal and state regulations,
  • Obtaining positive learning outcomes for children,
  • Meeting family and community needs,
  • Using effective and efficient systems,
  • Keeping accurate and up-to-date records,
  • Maintaining safe and inviting facilities, and
  • Employing competent and well-trained staff.

Program Outcomes

P.E.A.C.E., Inc. HS/EHS will utilize various tools to collect data, including a comprehensive tool recently obtained from the Western Kentucky University Training & Technical Assistance Services.  Information from the self-assessment highlights program strengths and reveals areas of opportunity which drive program planning and improvement.  The results are combined with other programmatic data from ongoing monitoring, child outcome reports, the Program Information Report, the Community Assessment, and formed into a program-wide improvement plan.  Program staff members identify goals/objectives and strive to enhance the quality of our services and a greater attainment of school readiness.   

Additional Comments

Our 2010 Community Assessment identified the need for more opportunities for refugee students to become enrolled in our HS & EHS program. As a way to increase our applications / intakes, we decided to organize a community fair with resettlement and nonprofit agencies that support refugee families. The collaborative effort included transportation for non-English speaking families to one of our city sites where we then assisted families with their application and intake paperwork. The fair was a great success as we were able to assist approximately 30 non-English speaking families through our eligibility process.  

P.E.A.C.E., Inc. has begun two new oral health programs. The first, Cavity Free Kids Oral Health Curriculum, strives to educate parents on the importance of caring for baby teeth. The second, Bright Smiles School Based Dental Program, is slightly less conventional, but extremely effective. The program is a mobile dental office, providing exams, X-rays, cleanings, fluoride varnishes, and treatment for children at EHS/HS sites. This enables children to receive dental care in a familiar setting. Children enrolled in home-based care are taken on a field trip to visit the dental clinic at an EHS/HS site.

Program Contact

Rebecca Heberle
EHS/HS Director
(314) 634-3703
rheberle@peace-caa.org

Maria Taddeo
ERSEA Coordinator
(315) 470-3346 ext.344
mtaddeo@peace-caa.org

http://www.peace-caa.org/

Program Dates

P.E.A.C.E., Inc. Head Start began in 1970, and Early Head Start opened in 1995; as of 2012 both remain in operation.