SAVOY, Ill. (WCIA) — Village president Joan Dykstra read to students as part of Head Start Awareness Month.
She chose “Duck for President” by Doreen Cronin for a group of preschoolers, to introduce them to government and politics.
“I chose ‘Duck for President,’ because it’s an easy way to talk to kids about elections and voting, but it wasn’t all that it was cracked up to be,” Dykstra said. “He [the duck] kept running for office and ultimately, he found out that doing chores on a farm was not too bad after all.”
Dykstra, a former teacher, acknowledged that her youngest listeners might be too young to understand the roles within local government. She hoped her visit would help change that.
“Preschoolers don’t have a great idea of what a mayor does,” she said. “So, I liken it to being in charge of the classroom.”
Savoy’s Early Education Center site manager Pamela Williams agreed the reading session would help.
“It was important for them to know that she’s a figure in our community, that she helps people and she brought it to the children’s level,” Williams said. “She asked, ‘what do you do to help?’ For instance, ‘what chores do you do at home?'”
Head Start Awareness Month was created in 1982 by President Ronald Reagan. The Champaign County Regional Planning Commission took over leadership of the program in the county in 1995.
Williams said it helps put kids on the path to success.
“Many of the children we serve are from low-income, have experienced hardships and traumas in their lives,” she said. “Head Start likes to come along, go into schools and get them caught up on their development. Head Start is also all-encompassing, so they help the whole family. If they need help getting housing, if they need help getting food on their table, things like that, our advocates for Head Start come along and help. So then, the children are in a much better place, much healthier place so that they can come to school and learn and concentrate.”
To learn more, click here.