Quality early education leads to successful outcomes
Meet Cassie Gipson! She is our mental health specialist in Liberal, KS. Working with our Head Start program for a little over a year now, Cassie knows firsthand how the benefits of early childhood education programs can extend into adulthood.
The Impact of Head Start
Cassie and her sister had to grow up quickly. Home life was difficult. But in their local Head Start program, they belonged and felt free to be children. Cassie recalls the consistent praise by staff, which was not something she received a lot of at home. Her family had food insecurities and appreciated the consistent meals and snacks. She found joy in participating in structured tasks in class like cleaning tables and enjoyed the social interactions.
“Head Start gave us value,” Cassie said.
Cassie’s Growth through School
When she started, Cassie was shy, timid and withdrawn. Soon after, she gained more confidence. Even as soon as kindergarten, she was more willing to share ideas and express concerns. And by high school, Cassie utilized the breathing techniques she learned in her class when she felt overwhelmed. During her senior year, she volunteered for an early childhood education program and found support from the staff again. Providing ways to help her cope and deal with stress was essential for Cassie’s development.
From Classroom to Career
Initially, Cassie wasn’t sure what type of work she wanted to do. Once she saw the open position with KCSL, she knew this was an opportunity to pay it forward and help children experiencing similar adversities. Cassie wants every child to have a connection and feel valued. She realizes the need to address and navigate emotions and the importance of communication. Children learn better when experiencing calm emotions instead of big ones.
“KCSL’s school readiness programs lay the foundation for community and sets you up for success,” Cassie said. ”I believe it helps families build their networks. The resources, family support and community engagement helps children succeed.”