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Head Start

The ScienceStart! preschool curriculum was developed at a Head Start Delegate Agency sponsored by the University of Rochester and Eastman Kodak. It has been used successfully in a number of urban and rural Head Start classrooms. ScienceStart! is structured as an enrichment rather than a compensatory program and is based on developmentally appropriate goals and practices. Children develop a rich and coherent knowledge base while practicing a scientific approach to investigating their everyday world.

Many programs are available for preschools but few can provide evidence of their effectiveness. The University of Rochester sponsored three large-scale studies funded by the National Science Foundation and the US Department of Education; these studies used pre-post assessments to show that children made significant gains in language and literacy skills as they focused on science content and skills. Rapid increases in children’s vocabulary reflected their growing conceptual knowledge as well as the opportunities provided by ScienceStart! for genuine conversations with teachers and other students.

Head Start Lesson Plans

Daily lesson plans integrate literacy, math, center-based play and art around a science topic. The easy-to-follow lesson plans provide a template of activities that fit the standard pre-school day, including large group time, center-based play, small- and large-motor activities, and read-aloud periods. All these elements make for an effective Head Start curriculum.

Parent Outreach

ScienceStart! includes materials that respond to Head Start Requirements for Parent Outreach.

  • Science Celebrations are school-based events during which children and their parents participate together in a variety of activities related to the science topics the children have been investigating.
  • Science ZipKits are take-home ziplock bags containing instructions and all the materials needed to complete an open-ended science investigation. Parents can guide the children’s investigations or, when kits are coordinated with lesson plans, children can rely on what they have already learned in class to demonstrate the preschool science activities to their family members.

Implementation Fidelity

ScienceStart! includes materials that respond to the Head Start Requirement to assess Implementation Fidelity.
  • The ScienceStart! Curriculum comes with an easy to use checklist to measure implementation fidelity, that is, the extent to which teachers actually follow the curriculum.
  • This same checklist can also serve as a resource for improving teaching practices through professional development, classroom mentoring, and teacher self-reflection.
  • This same checklist also provides a guide for teachers as they learn to implement best-practices in the classroom.

Scope and Sequence

ScienceStart! includes materials that respond to the Head Start Requirement to document Scope and Sequence.
  • A description of ScienceStart!’s Scope and Sequence will satisfy Head Start Program Requirements.
  • This same description of Scope and Sequence will show that the ScienceStart! Curriculum meets and exceeds the preschool curriculum standards proposed by states and by professional associations.
View ScienceStart! Scope and Sequence information.