OKMULGEE, Oklahoma – For the Muscogee (Creek) Nation Head start students at the Okmulgee location, the last day of school was spent celebrating the end of the school year and the beginning of the summer break with the staff and their families.
Staff Supervisor Holly Stidman ordered Mother Truckers BBQ to supply the participants and families with lunch at the event.
Family Service Worker Marcus Jeffrey said this is the first event of its kind since he has been with the program.
He said the event promotes fellowship and brings families and the head start staff together.
“This is our way of saying thank you to the families for bringing their children to our program,” Jeffery said.
Typically, the staff will plan a field trip for the kids at the end of the year, but due to some lingering COVID restrictions, it was decided to use the funds to hold a closed event closer to home.
Earlier in the year, the program held a “dad and me” event to promote fathers’ participation in the child’s education.
In his capacity, Jeffrey is in close contact with each enrolled child and their families.
With a total of 54 students that were enrolled in the program, relationships and connections were built inside the small facility located on the MCN complex.
According to Jeffrey, they are hoping to increase that number to 57 students for the upcoming school year at the Okmulgee location.
The curriculum implemented within the program is to help prepare children for pre-kindergarten by assisting them in developing fundamental knowledge of the alphabet, numbers, and colors, along with social skills.
The program also partners with the Language Program to teach the children the Mvskoke language.
Some parents claim that their child can count in the language and even use the Creek word in place of the English, which varies from case to case.
The program has nine locations throughout the reservation, including Okmulgee, Okemah, Checotah, Tulsa, Eufaula, and Wetumka, along with shared collaboration facilities at Dewar, Midway, and Wainwright Public Schools.
“We are looking forward to returning and new participants for the next school year,” Jeffrey said.
The MCN head start program accepts applications year-round for ages 3-5 that live in income-eligible households.
Jeffrey reiterates the need for four-year-olds within the program, adding that the program is open to any child, not limited to Native Americans.
“The overall goal of Head Start is to bring about a greater degree of social competence in children who may be economically or educationally disadvantaged,” according to the MCN Head starts’ Website. “Head Start’s approach is based on the philosophy that a child can benefit most from a comprehensive interdisciplinary program to foster development and remedy problems through the involvement of the child’s entire family, as well as the community.”
Applications and information can be found at https://www.muscogeenation.com/services/education-training/headstart/.