The Blue Valley Community Action Early Head Start program and offices have moved from the Catholic Church Annex building (known as Lollipop Lane) to 320 Lincoln Avenue, between the Hebron Journal-Register and Kass Ford.
“Our program has expanded, and we needed additional space in order to provide more services,” said Danik Obermier, staff resource manager.
Head Start is a federally-funded program that offers early education opportunities to children from low income families.
The program partners with the Rising Stars preschool program for children ages three to five.
Early Head Start is also available in Thayer County.
The program’s services are available to expectant mothers and families with infants and toddlers under the age of three.
Enrollment is targeted to families who meet income requirements, teen parents, and children with special needs.
The program goals are to ensure healthy prenatal outcomes, enhance development of very young children, and to promote healthy family relationships.
Limited enrollment was available until recently.
“In previous years, we shared ten Early Head Start enrollment spots with Fillmore County. Now each county has ten enrollment spots for EHS, because of the growing need for these services in each community,” said Obermier.
The program offers home visits, where the parents and children receive educational services in the home, as well as socialization times held at the EHS center on Lincoln Ave.
These socialization times include educational activities to help parents and children engage with each other, and to strengthen parent-child relationships.
“It’s a hands-on, one-on-one learning experience where the parents and children are all involved,” said Coleen Cherney, supervisor and family advocate at the Hebron office.
These social activities help parents better understand child development, provide a social outlet for parents and children, and give both structured and unstructured learning opportunities for families.
“Head Start also emphasizes health and the importance of physical development in young children,” said Obermier.
For early prevention, comprehensive health screenings include physical, dental, vision, hearing, speech, physical development, social and emotional development, and immunizations.
The expanded Early Head Start program will begin in August.
Applications are currently being accepted.
Blue Valley has home offices in eight other counties besides Thayer: Butler, Fillmore, Jefferson, Gage, York, Polk, Saline, Seward.