Funds to support music program for Head Start classrooms

WCAC

Submitted photo

Worcester, Massachusetts – The Greater Worcester Community Foundation has awarded the Worcester Community Action Council, Inc. a $15,000 grant to support a collaboration with Apple Tree Arts of Grafton, MA, to provide weekly music sessions in each of the agency’s fourteen Head Start preschool classrooms.

WCAC’s Head Start programs provide high quality, evidence-based early education and comprehensive family services to income-eligible families, presently serving 221 children living in Southern Worcester County, with classrooms located in Auburn and Southbridge. The grant will fund one, 45-minute music session weekly through May 2016, for each classroom, comprised of 17 students ages 3-5 years old. The classes are relaxed, engaging and a fun time where students learn to keep a steady beat, learn simple songs by rote, play percussion instruments and move to a variety of music.

“These resources will enable our Head Start staff to increase our children’s knowledge and appreciation of music and the fine arts,” WCAC Executive Director Jill Dagilis said. “Music plays in important role in children’s language learning, reading ability, creativity and overall growth and development. The music lessons are fun, engaging and really get the children excited to learn in a very creative way. We are most grateful to the Greater Worcester Community Foundation for supporting this important project.”

“We are grateful to be able to increase the frequency of our music and movement classes that are offered at Head Start sites in Southbridge and Auburn that serve families in these communities as well as Leicester, Millbury, Oxford and Webster, to weekly benefiting the educational, social and emotion growth of preschooler,” Jan Barlow, Apple Tree Arts’ education director said.

Music classes have been provided at WCAC’s classrooms since 2005 through a partnership with Apple Tree Arts. Previously, classes had been directly funded through WCAC’s Universal Pre-Kindergarten (UPK) funding from the MA Dept. of Early Education and Care. With a decrease in UPK funding this year, however, the agency sought alternative resources to ensure the music instruction would continue uninterrupted for both existing and new children.