October is National Head Start Awareness Month and National Principals Month, a fitting time for elementary school principals from all over San Francisco to visit Wu Yee’s Head Start Child Development Centers. Principals from Gordon J. Lau, John Yehall Chin, Malcolm X, and Monroe Elementary Schools visited Wu Yee’s Generations, Lok Yuen, Kirkwood, Bayview, and Southeast Child Development Centers.
According to the National Head Start Association, more than 400,000 children nationally enter kindergarten from Head Start programs each year. The Head Start program has supported and tracked each child’s social, emotional, and academic progress and health. Compared to peers, Head Start “graduates” are more likely to finish high school, go to college, be employed, and enjoy good health. Relationships between elementary school principals and Head Start directors, administrators, and teachers set the stage for children’s long-term success. These visits by neighborhood elementary school principals help bridge the transition between preschool and kindergarten.
John Yehall Chin Elementary School Principal Allen A. Lee visited Generations Child Development Center. One of the challenges Principal Lee sees is parents think of early childhood educators as babysitters and not part of kindergarten readiness. He believes that education starts at the beginning and parents need to be more involved and take responsibility for their child's education even in preschool. He spoke about how some children have Individualized Education Plans (IEP) and come to San Francisco Unified School District (SFUSD) for meetings and services, but some parents don't truly understand the reason and meaning behind the IEP. He said, “it's not about giving the parents or grandparents more work or a headache. We have to educate the parents what the goals for the children are and the importance of those goals.”