Save the Children Head Start Center celebrates grand opening in Natchitoches

From left are Head Start staff members Darius Queen, Brandi Carpenter, Tina Carter, Taylor Morgan, Lauren Raymond, Kimberly Smith, Chriscella Metoyer (Program Director) and Janet Powell.

A new Head Start center in Natchitoches Parish had its ribbon cutting ceremony this week and members of the community came to help celebrate, tour the facility and signed their children up for early registration and recruitment.

“Completion of this program has been a long time coming and we are thrilled that this day has come,” said Education Manager Janet Powell. “We know that this facility will be a huge asset to the children and families of this community and we are looking forward to working with them.”

Save the Children, which has operated Head Start and Early Head Start programs for almost a decade in rural communities across America, celebrated the opening of its new Early Head Start/Head Start center in Natchitoches Tuesday, May 18.

The new center offers in-person and virtual learning options, and features innovative video technology and tablets to support hybrid learning, high-quality, evidence-based instruction, and new age-appropriate playground equipment. Located at 1504 Gold St., the center will serve approximately 135 Head Start students ages 3-5. In addition to this new center, there is also a new facility in Mansfield on Richard Street, which will serve 35 children (17 children ages 3-5 in Head Start, and 16 children 6 weeks-2 in the Early Head Start program)

“Head Start and Early Head Start makes a tremendous difference in the lives of children and families who are in the greatest need. We see it every day,” said Red River Region Program Director Chriscella Metoyer.

Natchitoches Mayor Ronnie Williams was the keynote speaker for the program. “As an educator, the Head Start program is near and dear to my heart,” he said. “Head Start ensures a promising beginning is available to so many children.” William thanked the staff at the center, saying they will be a great part in giving these children an awesome future.

Head Start and Early Head Start are federally-funded programs that offer early learning opportunities to children birth to age 5 and their families living in poverty. The programs provide comprehensive services, including education, health, social-emotional and family engagement, to address the developmental needs of children and families. Currently, Save the Children operates Head Start and Early Head Start programs in rural communities Arkansas, Louisiana, North Carolina and North Dakota, serving more than 1,100 children and their families.