Fortunately, there was a job opening where I lived starting in October. I was hired right after my interview by the director of the two county Head Start program as a home visit teacher. Above is a local newspaper clipping about the program showing me and two of the children I was visiting. I am impressed with my 1974 plaid pants!
Since it was a pilot program, and since the director had just arrived from New York to live in the woods with her boy friend, she gave me free rein over structuring it. I first had to find 10 children to visit. This turned out to be extremely easy once I had found a first child whose mother was interested. That mom told me about another and so it went until I had filled my quota. The kids were scattered over a very large area, and it was impractical to to try get them in one place, so my driving from home to home was a workable way to deliver the Head Start program.
I had an old van which I filled with things I remembered liking as a kid and things I had used when I volunteered in the nursery school run by Helen Gordon when I was in high school. So I had puzzles, Play-Doh, lots of picture books, clay, paint, blank paper, construction paper, scissors and glue. I tried to vary what I brought each week so that the kids were regularly surprised by new material. And I had a surprise of my own that fall. During my unemployment, I had become pregnant. So as I grew in confidence, I also grew in size. And that gave the mothers and me a natural bond that helped us function as equals: me teaching them about kids, them teaching me about pregnancy!
Tomorrow I will share some of the specific interactions and successes I had with this program. Suffice it to say, it was a wonderful experience for all concerned.