Category: Research News
Published: 12 November 2013
FSM Department of Education
NDOE Press Release #02
November 12, 2013
Head Start is probably the most renowned named known to most Pacific island parents, without the exception of Micronesian parents; perhaps, even the rest of the global community abroad. This should not come as a big surprise because we all can relate to the business of nurturing our young and preparing them for a future, a future that that we would hope is better than the ones our parents had wished for us. Naturally, parents are always protective of their children as they try their very best to raise their children to become healthy, capable, intelligent, productive, and moral citizens of the State.
Coincidentally, the Head Start Program which had its humble beginnings under the administration of U.S President, Lyndon Johnson in 1965, was founded to alleviate the burden of poverty on families, which later evolved to become a pioneering feat in the response to addressing the needs of a family and their younger siblings. From the time of Trusteeships to the early part of the Compact of Free Association in the 80’s , Micronesia as people and as a nation, were fortunate to be basking under what seems to be a “bountiful streams” of financial assistance and extensive services which came in the form of health, nutrition, and educational commodities.
For Micronesia, Head Start was one of those bountiful streams. Then, it could easily afford to provide more comprehensive provisions for preschoolers inclusive of children with disabilities or developmental delays; the population was a lot smaller making it more permissible for the management and delivery of services to the slowly, but growing early childhood education populace. Secondly, the Head Start Program finances were much intact since the program was federally funded out of Washington, D.C.
Today, the renowned Head start prevailed, but it is left with a much leaner stature financially with a less definitive future that rests at the mercy of the State Departments of Education. The name is no longer Head Start, but is presently captioned with a universal name tag called Early Childhood Education. The fact that it has merged into each of the FSM States Public School Education System or DOE s purports the fate of the former Head Start Program. Without accessibility to any federal funding streams, the Early Childhood Education Program now faces new challenges on how it should prolong the continuum of quality services in the areas of dental, health, nutrition, and education through out the Federated States of Micronesia.
Consequently, Chief administrators are compelled to arrive at innovative solutions to extend the same gamut of services that Pacific island and Micronesia parents are so accustomed to demand of the former Head Start Program. Parents still hold high expectations on the State to teach and provide well for their children. Moreover, parents always want the best for the children regardless of fluctuating climate in economy, politics, religion, and so forth, if they were to have a real say in it.
In short, no matter how far we have gone past or progressed beyond the prosperous Head Start days, we all, not just parents, have a morale stake in ensuring that our children are given the best opportunities to experience, explore, learn, and grow by laying early fountains in our Early Childhood Education system. Our children are our future. We owe it to our children to give them only the best!