Health fair makes sure Head Start students ready to learn

A health fair held last Tuesday and Wednesday gave parents the opportunity to make sure their students get off to a good beginning in Head Start this year.
The health fair, which was been held for the last five years by MAPS, in conjunction with the Lincoln County Health Department, The UW-Extension and the Children Health Alliance, is a rarity among Head Start programs, according to the local director of the program. The fair is a chance to make sure that students entering Head Start meet all the health and immunization requirements.
“The reason for the requirements is that a healthy child is ready to learn,” said Beth Tepper, MAPS Director of Head Start.
Assistant director Pam Barkley said the health fair is the first chance that the staffs, parents and students get a chance to meet and get to know each other.
“It’s an opportunity for our families to have all their requirements met at one time,” Barkley said.
About 50 students ages 3 and 4 were examined during the two days the fair was held. They received free physical and dental exams, vision and hearing checks, had their blood and hemoglobin checked for such things as lead and iron levels, had their height and weight recorded and made sure their immunizations were up to date.
And while the whole procedure may have been a little scary for the youngsters, it was also turned into as fun an experience as possible for them. Toys and books were available as well as Head Start staff members to try and take the children’s minds off all the poking and prodding.
“This is the first chance we have to put a face to a name,” Barkley said.

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