Head Start celebrates 40 years
Forty years ago Daren Incashola was a little guy playing with blocks during his time at a Head Start in St. Ignatius. He was 4 years old. He would grow up and send his two children to the child development program for children ages birth to 5.
On Friday, Incashola helped celebrate Head Start’s 40th Anniversary during their annual powwow at the Ronan Event Center where many families and staff members danced with the help of several drum groups. Many young children wore moccasins given to them by the Head Start program to celebrate the event. And because Incashola was one of the first to be in Head Start, he was chosen as the “head man” during the grand entry.
“It gives kids a good head start so they are ready for school,” Incashola said of the program, adding that his mother, Denise Incashola, was a Head Start teacher for 20 years.
Head Start began as a summer program in Arlee and St. Ignatius before funding became available to expand it across the reservation. The Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes were tasked with dispersing federal funding to the program, and they also contribute to it. Head Start was able to establish centers for children in Polson, Ronan, and Dixon. Children in Elmo and Pablo are also transported to the program.
About 90 children attend Head Start programs organized by the Flathead Indian Reservation Early Childhood Services program with a focus on education, health, and parental involvement.