Early Education Department Prepares for School Year


Mille Lacs Early Education (MLEE) is a combination of six programs: Federal Head Start (HS), Minnesota State Head Start, Federal Early Head Start (EHS), Early Childhood Family Education (ECFE), Early Childhood Special Education (ECSE), provided through the local public schools, and Childcare.

If you or anyone you know would like to get on the waiting list for these services, please contact Arlene Mock or Cat Stowers at 320-532-7590.

All six educational programs serve children from birth to age five, as well as their families, and they have a positive effect on children. Early Ed serves 53 children enrolled in federal Head Start, 34 in State of Minnesota Head Start, and 80 in Ear- ly Head Start. An additional 60 children are provided service by Mille Lacs Band funding.

District I has 10 Early Head Start classrooms and six Head Start classrooms, which includes one Ojibwe Language Immersion classroom. The District II site has one Head Start classroom and two Early Head Start classrooms. District III has one Head Start classroom and one Early Head Start classroom.

In the EHS rooms, the educational emphasis is on building trust, relationships, self-awareness, self-regulation, and self- help skills. The development of these social and emotional skills greatly influences the development of skills and abilities as children move into preschool and beyond. Because of this, Creative Curriculum for Infants and Toddlers is used. This curriculum is relationship-based and therefore very relevant. In order to facilitate social and emotional well-being, staff use an observation and response technique. Through observation, staff are able to respond to the individual needs of each child.

In HSl classrooms, teachers use the Investigator Club Curriculum, or ICC. This curriculum not only has a social and emotional component, but an academic base as well, helping children to be kindergarten ready. The ICC is a developmentally appropriate curriculum that aligns to state standards and supports the NAEYC (National Association for the Education of Young Children) and IRA (International Reading Association) developmentally appropriate joint position statement. Both HS and EHS classrooms assess children three times a year to guide instruction and individualize based on each child’s needs.

Head Start (3–5 year olds) runs from early September to the end of May. Early Head Start runs from early September until the end of July. Classes run from 8 a.m.–3 p.m. Monday through Thursday. These services are free of charge, with op- tional child care wraparound services based on availability for a small fee.