Great Daycares: Anderson County Head Start

Director Tammy Moore, Assistant Director Sandy RitchieLisa Bean, Anna WheatleyBecky Hawkins, Jackie Trent, Amanda RitcheyCara Edwards, Sue Harvey, Katelyn Stidham, Kayla White, Tracy Warren

The old saying “What goes around comes around” is true in Anderson County Head Start, a child development program that provides education, health services, parental involvement, and social services to eligible preschool children in the community.

The current Head Start Program director, Tammy Moore, was a preschool student in Head Start 43 years ago.  Tammy enjoyed the program immensely as a child that she grew up to lead the program today with its 50 years of service to preschool children of Anderson County.

Tammy stated, “I  truly believe Head Start makes a difference in the lives of children. We have had ‘School Readiness’ drilled into our minds, and that’s just a little of what we do here at Head Start. We work to prepare children for school, which gives them a ‘Head Start’ in their educational lives.”

Her compassion and dedication to leading the community program is evident when Tammy speaks about her work. “I love my job and love this program. Not only have I worked for Blue Grass Head Start for the last 20 years, I was a Head Start child in this same program in 1974! I guess you could say I have Head Start in my blood,” she said with a broad smile spreading across her face.

Getting a second “head start” in education always means success in life. That’s what another Anderson County citizen believes, who knows very well through experience that “what goes around comes around” in life.  Kevin Gamble, 26 years old, also attended pre-school at Anderson County Head Start as a young child.  His 4 year old daughter, Trinity Gamble, graduated from Head Start on May 15, 2017, during a special ceremony held at the Head Start and Daycare Center. Kevin, who volunteers at the Head Start preschool, says he does that to give back to the place that gave him a “head start” with his education.

At the Head Start Center, located at 1593 Harrodsburg Road, Lawrenceburg, parental involvement is encouraged for the benefit of students and parents.  Parents are encouraged to become active in all phases of the Head Start Program—in the classroom, on field trips, parent meetings and workshops, bus monitoring, attending health screenings and program events.  Parents are also part of the decision making process for their children’s Head Start experience by serving on the program’s Parent Committee and Policy Council.

Classroom leader Amanda Ritchey emphasized the quality of education provided within the Head Start Program by explaining, “To me Head Start is such a great jump start to get preschool children ready for school.  Children are on a schedule from the first day they enter the Head Start Center. And attending the Center teaches them friendship and offers them the education needed to socialize from ages three years and up.  We take time to interact with each child individually to help them gain a sense of self while building self esteem and confidence.”

Head Start provides children with a learning environment along with a variety of experiences that help students develop socially, emotionally, physically, and intellectually in an age appropriate manner.  Its program focuses on areas of development in pre-literacy (pre-reading), fine motor skills (pre-writing), gross motor skills, music and art appreciation, and speech and language development.

Other classroom leaders, Becky Hawkins and Jackie Trent, echo what Amanda Ritchey says about the benefits for students in the Head Start Program.  Becky said, “Early childhood education is very important to children because they learn how to do many things before going to school, such as getting along with others, manners, following rules, and much more.”  And leader Jackie Trent added, “The children here get social interaction while at play along with learning and preparing for kindergarten.”

The local Head Start Pre-School Program  is for 3 and 4 year olds, while its daycare center serves children 2 to 12 years of age.  Its hours of operation are 6:00 a.m. until 5:30 p.m.

-Written by Donna Crain Drury

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