Head Start Health/Nutrition Information

  • Screenings

    Every child enrolled in Head Start receives comprehensive screening, which includes: educational, health, nutrition, dental and developmental screenings. Health screenings include hearing, vision, height, weight, blood pressure. Developmental screenings include motor, language, cognitive and social/emotional development using the Ages and Stages Parent Questionnaire.

    Short- and Long-Term Exclusion

    Head Start will not exclude a child from program participation unless that child demonstrates an inability to benefit from the services offered by the program, and/or the child presents a health and safety concern. Head Start follows the Johnson County Health Department and the Olathe School District guidelines for communicable diseases. If such a need occurs, we will work with the child, family, and community mental health professionals if necessary, to provide alternative services.

    In addition, we will never exclude any enrolled child from program participation for a long-term period on the basis of health care, mental health, and/or disabilities needs alone, provided that we can accommodate those needs (i.e. through reasonable modifications or auxiliary aids) without either fundamentally altering the program or posing a significant health or safety risk to the child or to anyone in contact with him/her.

    Allergies and Diet Restrictions

    Parents/guardians must notify the center in writing of any allergies or other medical conditions at enrollment, or as the parent becomes aware of them. Any special diet due to allergies requiring food substitutions at the center must be documented in writing by the child’s doctor. Please allow at least one week for special diet accommodations to be put into place. The program strives to prepare meals that are peanut-free. The Health Coordinator is available to work with the parent of any child who has special dietary requirements. We strive to ensure that all children in the program are well nourished.

    Meal Times

    Family style meal service is used in the Head Start program. Children will serve themselves all menu items from the bowls, platters, baskets, and/or pitchers provided. The children are encouraged to taste all foods, but they are never forced to eat anything they do not want. Goals of the program are to introduce the children to a wide variety of foods, model appropriate eating behavior, and initiate conversations, similar to a home setting

    All food consumed by children under the supervision of the Head Start center must be provided by Head Start. Therefore, food brought from home is not permitted including birthday/holiday treats.

    Health Requirements

    Head Start works with families to ensure that each child is up-to-date on all preventive medical procedures, including doctor’s visits, immunizations, and screenings. Please see the following pages for specific health requirements, per Head Start performance standards.

    Requirements to Attend the Center

    In the Head Start program, children must be current on certain health requirements to attend and participate:

    • All necessary immunizations and shots required by Kansas state health laws
    • Physical (doctor’s exam) performed within the past year
    • Dental Exam performed within the last six months

    Our first priority is to support families to meet these requirements upon entering Head Start. All children must have a current physical completed within the past year and all necessary immunizations that are required by the state of Kansas.

    Illness Policy

    Head Start programs are committed to ensuring the health and safety of each child and family we serve. In compliance with Head Start Program Performance Standards this Illness Policy clearly defines our procedures for short-term exclusion.

    Please communicate health concerns about your child to the Health Coordinator. Call the school office each day your child will not attend school. Please notify us of any symptoms your child is having (fever, rash, headache, stomach ache, etc.) so that the Health Coordinator can track possible outbreaks of a communicable disease. The child must be fever-free, without vomiting or diarrhea for 24 hours before he or she returns to school. Students suspected of having a contagious disease or infection (chicken pox, pinkeye, etc.) would be excluded from school according to the state and local health regulations for the appropriate period of quarantine and/or until a written notification from the doctor states that the child can return to school.

    Accident or Illness Procedure

    Head Start strives to provide a safe environment. However, if your child is involved in an accident or becomes ill, first aid will be administered, and the parent informed. In the event of a serious accident or illness, 911 will be called if necessary, so the child can be taken to the hospital immediately and the parent or guardian will be notified simultaneously. Be sure that your emergency contact numbers are up to date so that we can get in touch with you.

    Expectations for parents

    • It is the parent’s responsibility to have their child picked up within one (1) hour of being notified that the child is ill.
    • If the parent cannot be reached, the emergency contacts from the” Emergency Contact Information” will be called. Persons coming to pick up child must have proper identification.

    Medication Policy

    Absolutely NO prescription medication will be given at school unless the school nurse has written and signed authority to do so by the child’s doctor and the child’s parent. Please see the nurse to discuss any medication needs at school. This includes all over the counter medication like cough syrup, cough drops, etc. Acetaminophen, ibuprofen, and generic Benadryl are the only exceptions to this policy. A supply of liquid and chewable acetaminophen, ibuprofen and Benadryl will be provided by and kept at Head Start. This medication will only be used in the rare event that a fever, pain, or allergic reaction begins while a child is at school. Children should not be sent to school with a fever. No exceptions can be made.

    Prescription medication must be brought to school by the parent in the original prescription bottle that has the doctor’s instructions on the label. If the parent can’t bring the medication to school then they must hand the medication to the bus driver. All medication transported on the bus will be stored in a lock box. It must be handed to the bus driver by the parent. For the safety of all students, do not put medication in your child’s backpack! Medicine, the doctor's permission slip and the parent's permission slip must be kept in the school nurse's office. No medication will be kept with the child in his or her classroom. This policy is for the protection of all children. Please be aware that we cannot apply sunscreen to your child without a written doctor’s order. If your child requires sunscreen on field trip days or for other outside activities, please apply before your child leaves home.

    In accordance with recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics and Professionals in School Nursing, subcutaneous epinephrine will be stored and available for use in the school health room in the presence of potential anaphylaxis. Use of subcutaneous epinephrine requires an immediate call to 911 and notification of lawful custodians.

    Mental Health

    Head Start recognizes the importance of mental wellness in children and their families. Our goal is to assist each child and family in finding effective ways to meet their physical, social, and emotional needs. Throughout the year, the Mental Health Coordinator will be available to provide mental health training, share information on positive parenting, emotional wellness, behavior management and consult with parents and staff on a one-on-one basis. The Mental Health Coordinator also observes each classroom to assist staff in promoting an emotionally healthy environment.