Program Services and Offerings
The Pittsburgh Public Schools Early Childhood Education Department provides children, birth to five, with a comprehensive, flexible program designed to reinforce and respond to the unique strengths and needs of each individual child and family. Please click on link to see classroom and contact information: 2013-14 Early Childhood Classroom List
The curriculum is based on the premise that all children share certain needs, and that their needs are best met through a child-centered developmental program. All programs operate five days a week for six hours a day. The goal is to provide an environment and experiences that bring about a greater degree of school readiness skills and social competence in preschool children. To achieve this goal, we provide a child-centered curriculum that promotes self-confidence, physical abilities, increased academic awareness and social interaction.
Health/Mental Health/Disability Services
Emphasis is placed on early identification of health problems by providing comprehensive health, mental health and disability services. Medical and dental forms and immunization records should be completed prior to entering the program. Follow-up treatment is provided to children that have been identified with health or dental concerns.
The Early Childhood Education Department also recognizes the importance of providing psychological services when needed to promote emotional and social development in children. Mental health professionals are available to provide training to staff and parents to help them identify if a child has special needs so that the appropriate support services can be implemented.
A network of support services is available for children with disabilities. These services allow for early identification and remediation involving diagnosis, consultation, referral, therapy and follow-up treatment.
Services are provided to children with visual and/or hearing impairments, physical impairments and social and emotional learning disabilities. At least 10% of the total number of enrollment slots are made available to children with disabilities.
Children receive a minimum of one breakfast and one lunch each day, which meets one-third to two-thirds of their daily nutritional requirements. The Pittsburgh Public Schools (PPS) Food Service Department works closely with program staff to design meal plans that meet the proper nutritional needs for students. Children that have been identified with special dietary needs receive specialized meal plans.
Early Head Start (EHS) Program
Early Head Start (EHS) is a federally funded program for low-income families with infants and toddlers and pregnant women. The program's goals are:
Early Head Start services are offered through center-based and home-based program options. The center-based options are located in two high schools (Westinghouse and Brashear) and one early childhood center (Crescent) which provides comprehensive education and social services to infants and toddlers of students currently enrolled at one of the high schools. In the home-based option, Home Visitors provide services in children's homes through weekly, 90-minute visits. Children enrolled in the Early Head Start program have the opportunity to transition to the preschool program when they turn 3 years old.
For more information, please contact Erin Payne, EHS Coordinator at (412) 529-3631.
Parents are the most important influence on a child's development. An essential component of early childhood education is the involvement of parents in the planning and development process. Parents have the opportunity to serve as members of the Head Start Policy Council and its various sub-committees. The purpose of Policy Council is to facilitate the objectives of the program so that all children receive the maximum benefits of a comprehensive child development program. Serving as a Policy Council member also enables parents to have meaningful input into the administrative decision making process. All parents are welcome to participate.
Through participation in classes, local parent meetings, workshops and home visits, parents learn about the educational and emotional needs of their child and about various activities that can be conducted in the home. Parents can also volunteer as teacher aides, field trip chaperones and assist the Parent Involvement and Volunteerism Coordinator with various activities that are centered around parental involvement. All volunteers must have Act 33 (Child Abuse History) and Act 34 (Criminal Record Check) clearances and TB test. Parents are also welcome to participate in activities that promote their own personal growth and increase their knowledge and awareness about early learning standards through activities sponsored by the School District and Federal and State education officials.
For more information, please contact the Early Childhood Main Office at (412) 529-4291.
The Social Service staff provides outreach services to children and families and help to encourage parent participation in the program. They also assist families in securing basic needs through a network of support services such as referrals, emergency assistance and crisis prevention/intervention. The Early Childhood Education Department ensures confidentiality to all its families.
If there is a need for an extended day program, parents may also want to consider enrolling their child in one of our partnership programs (see list of partnerships sites).
The Early Childhood Education Department has formed partnerships with a number of child care and early learning agencies throughout the City. Children receive similar educational experiences as in the school-based early childhood classrooms. Support is provided through curriculum, materials, teacher training and child screenings.
The Head Start Supplemental Assistance Program (HSSAP) is a State-funded early childhood program that provides services to two hundred eighty-five (285) children between the ages of 3 and 5, who reside in the Pittsburgh area. We also collaborate with ten community child care agencies to provide comprehensive support services eligible children. All community partners are enrolled in the Keystone STARS Program, which is a state-wide, quality childcare enhancement program. Some sites are also accredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC). Please click on link to see list of classrooms and contact information: 2013-14 HSSAP Classrooms and Contact List
The Pennsylvania Pre-Kindergarten Counts (PKC) Program is a state-funded early childhood program that provides services to three hundred fourteen (314) children who are enrolled in the school district's Early Childhood Program and six various community early childhood agencies (child care centers and licensed nursery schools). All community sites are either enrolled in the Keystone STARS program or licensed by the Pennsylvania Department of Education. Please click on link to see list of classrooms and contact information: 2013-14 PA PKC Classrooms and Contact List
Features of both programs include:
- Support from program coordinators, education coaches and family service specialists;
- Curricula (High Scope, Creative Curriculum and Little Treasures)
- Professional development, including training on curriculum, assessment, Promoting Alternative Thinking Strategies (PATHS), T-Base, and Early Learning Standards;
- Kindergarten transition support services;
- Classroom and field trip visits by early learning educational consultants such as Gateway to the Arts, The Carnegie Library BLAST Program, the Carnegie Science Center, and others;
- Participation in a child care provider network, which includes meeting on a monthly basis with child care providers across the City; and
- Comprehensive screenings for enrolled children, including developmental, vision, hearing and speech services.
For more information, please contact Jennifer Fustish, HSSAP Partnership Coordinator at (412) 529-8071 or Amber Straub, Pre-K Counts Partnership Coordinator at (412) 529-6264.
In 2012, the Early Childhood extended its services to include a tuition-based preschool option to serve families whose incomes exceed 300% of the federal poverty level (FPL). Families interested in this option should contact the main office at (412) 529-4291 to find out more information or inquire about slot openings.
To meet the needs of families that need extended care for their children, afterschool program services are offered at select locations for children in grades Pre-K through 5th Grade. Space is still available in some locations. For more information, please contact Darlene McIntosh, Fiscal Coordinator at (412) 529-4297 or visit http://www.pps.k12.pa.us/Page/3333
to learn more about the program or download the application.