The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

The Valley

October 11, 2013

Program gives students a ‘head start’

— MILTON — At her grandmother’s kitchen table in Sunbury, four-year-old Faith Heller cut paper ducks and talked about her friends at school. She quickly counted from one to ten, and wrote her favorite numbers on each of the ducks.

While students in Northumberland County were returning to school last month after summer break, Faith and a group of children in the county, learned in a classroom all summer long.

The Central Susquehanna Intermediate Unit’s (CSIU) Northumberland Area Head Start (NAHS) serves children in the county whose family income falls below the federal poverty guidelines. Thanks to supplemental funding from the Sunbury Area Community Foundation (SACF), two part-time classroom assistants were hired to provide additional support in the classroom, and to administer summer home visits.

“These visits provided opportunities to give extra support and helped our students maintain skills over the summer,” said Patty Edwards, CSIU Head Start program manager.

Staff visited students for one hour, once a week throughout the summer. Activities included working on social skills, reading a book together and participating in small activities related to the book.

NAHS staff work with children and their families to help them gain the skills needed to succeed in school — both academically and socially.

“Faith has become more independent at home thanks to the skills she learned at school,” said Faith’s grandmother, Donna Derr.

“I’m very thankful for the help she received,” added Faith’s mother, Trisha.

The CSIU received a grant of $14,300 from SACF to support Northumberland Area Head Start programs. The SACF serves residents of Northumberland County, and is affiliated with the Central Susquehanna Community Foundation. For more information, visit

Head Start is a program for preschool children that promotes school readiness and emphasizes parents as their child’s first teacher, and is available to 3-, 4- and 5-year-olds who are not yet enrolled in kindergarten. The CSIU was awarded a federal contract to conduct programs in Northumberland County. Sites are located in Herndon, Milton, Mount Carmel, Shamokin, Sunbury and Turbotville.

For more information about Head Start, contact the CSIU at (570) 523-1155, ext. 2240.


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