How Head Start Has Helped My Family

IHSD parent Nora Meléndez shares how Head Start has helped her family and how other parents can help too.

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I will be completely honest. For a long time, I was not sure I even wanted to have children. I was focused on other things that were more important to me at the time. But as I got older, I started to consider that being a mom, was one more thing that I might want to accomplish in my lifetime. After an unplanned pregnancy that ended in miscarriage at age 30, I decided that I did want children after all. It took 7 more years before I would have my first child.

Before any of those events, I had seen the First 5 commercials on TV for many years. I was primed and conditioned through those commercials, as well as my own desire to give my children the best education possible, to search for enrichment programs when the time was right.
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Como Head Start Ayuda a Mi Familia

Seré completamente honesta. Por mucho tiempo, estaba insegura de quierer tener hijos. Estaba enfocada en otras cosas que eran mas importante para mi en ese entonces. Pero al pasar de los años, considere que quisá ser mamá, sería una cosa mas que podría lograr en mi vida. Despues de un embarazo no planificado, que resulto en aborto espontáneo a mis 30 años, decidí que si quiería hijos. Pasarían 7 años mas antes de tener a mi primer bebé.

Antes de ninguno de estos eventos, había visto los comerciales del First 5 en la tele por muchos años. Estaba lista y había sido condicionada mediante estos anuncios, asi como por mi propio deseo de darles a mis hijos el mejor comienzo posible, para buscar programas de enriquesimiento cuando fuera tiempo.

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Family Fall Traditions from the Main Office

Staff members from the IHSD main office share some of their favorite fall traditions.

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Boris Bobrov, Data Entry Tech:
My fall family tradition includes celebrating the Jewish new year, Rosh Hashanah. My mom usually does all the festival cooking and I help with the salads and the meats. We also watch football when the San Francisco 49ers play. During the fall, we also tend to do more holiday shopping and go to the auto show at the San Francisco Moscone Center ever year. I look forward to seeing all the new automobiles that are coming out for the next year. I go with my dad and brother. Sometimes my uncle is involved as well.

Photo provided by Food & Wine

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Teachers as Agents of Change

IHSD Teacher Lucia Alvarez shares her career path as an IHSD teacher and how she sees teacher as agents of change.

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Having worked for IHSD for about nine years, I see the importance of fostering family engagement to support children’s learning and improve teaching practice. Education has played an important role in my life. Education for me means to have a special power. The power to learn and teach. The power to change others’ lives and our own. The power to decide and take action. The power of being agents of change. 

Originally from Nicaragua where I lived through the civil war and worked as a computer engineer, I immigrated to the United States in 2006 with my son. The first job that I got was as a Spanish teacher in an afterschool program. I fell in love with the children immediately and found a passion for teaching. I then worked as a substitute teacher in the San Mateo-Foster City School District and as a volunteer in the San Mateo Public Library.Read more


Changing the Status Quo

IHSD ECE Coach John Fernandez opens about the role of being a male in a female-dominated industry. 

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In 1994, I counted ten men in my San Jose State University Child Development graduating class of about 150. If my numbers were correct, that's about 6.6%. I wanted to make a difference and change the status quo.

In a 2012 article from Teaching Tolerance Magazine, "According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, just 2.3 percent of preschool and kindergarten teachers are men." That's about one man for every 43 women. It's a little disheartening knowing that the number for men in Early Childhood Education has not increased. It seems that I'm swimming against the tide.Read more


Kicking off the 2019-2020 School Year

IHSD Teacher Ana Faleschini shares her thoughts on starting another new school year.

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As I look back when I was a little girl, I recall many beautiful memories that I cherish from my childhood. My family allowed me to be a little explorer and gave me the opportunity to learn while I played. I can recall many different experiences that gave me pieces of knowledge as a child. Playing in the backyard making mud cakes using nothing but my hands is one of my favorite memories. Thanks to my family, I can say that I had a real opportunity to enjoy a precious early stage in my life, and that will always bring joy to my life.

I always knew that I would enjoy the opportunity to work with children. I felt that way especially towards little ones that do not have the luxuries of a safe community, a loving family, healthy home and freedom to explore to enjoy their childhood to their fullest. I wanted to work with children to guide, inspire and help them acquire the tools needed to be on a path for success.Read more


An Interview with Teacher Mattie Cramer

Mattie Cramer has been teaching at IHSD since 2007 and opens up about how she serendipitously became a preschool teacher.

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IHSD: Introduce yourself!

Mattie: Hi! I’m Mattie Cramer. 

I: Tell me how you became a Head Start teacher.

M: When I was in sixth grade, the students were asking the teacher what they could be when they grow up. He was very negative with me. He said to me that the best I would do is be a waitress. Read more


Gilroy, El Paso, and Dayton

In lieu of recent and tragic events around the nation, our hearts go out to the families and communities of Gilroy, El Paso, and Dayton. At IHSD, we are in the business for shaping lives and building a better future through quality child development and support services. Our efforts to teach young students socio-emotional skills ring especially important today as we witness hatred dividing our country. We teach our children empathy, kindness, respect, and self-control. These become invaluable lessons that we hope will manifest in our students to become excellent contributors to society. We are proud of the work we do, and we're thankful for your support as we start a new school year.


Veteran Pre-K Program Prepares to Serve More Infants and Toddlers with Early Head Start Expansion Grant

The Institute for Human and Social Development (IHSD Inc.) currently serves 181 infant and toddlers around San Mateo County with quality child development programs and is now preparing spaces to serve 32 more infant and toddlers this fall. With infant toddler programs already located in South San Francisco, Half Moon Bay, and San Mateo, IHSD is looking to open four new Early Head Start classrooms with two in East Palo Alto and two more in the north county area. This will be a first for IHSD to serve East Palo Alto with Early Head Start programs.

Early Head Start is just of a three different service models offered by IHSD, whose mission is to provide excellent, comprehensive child development and support services to the highest need children ages 0-5 years old in San Mateo County. The grant opportunity was approved by the Administration for Children and Families, a division of the United States Department of Health and Human Services and helps IHSD deepen its impact.Read more


IHSD Family Day 2019 Results

Thank you to everyone that came out to celebrate our 1st IHSD Family Day Even on Saturday, April 13 from 10 am - 2 pm at San Mateo Central Park Recreation Center!

  • 370 total guests attended
  • 135 families
  • 7 different community fair vendors
  • Temperature of 68°F on a beautiful day!
  • 31 of IHSD staff working
  • 2 arts and craft activities
  • 2 of wellness presentations
  • 60 minutes of outdoor activities with Mike and Mike and friends
  • 30 of families at Fatherhood Summit

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