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Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions


Why is high quality early childhood education important?

For generations, kindergarten was considered the beginning of a child’s learning, but that’s no longer the case. According to research the period from birth through age 5 is when children develop language, thinking, physical, and socio-emotional skills that they will utilize throughout their lives. During these years, every experience that a child has helps to create the architecture of the brain. Therefore, the quality of a child’s preschool experiences can be a key predictor of their success in school and life.


What programs are available in St. Helena Parish?

The St. Helena Early Childhood Community Network includes the following programs: 1) Dennis Mills Learning Academy, 2) St. Helena Head Start and Early Head Start, 3) Ray Smith Memorial Early Learning Center and, 4) St. Helena Early Learning Center.


Where can I find information about the program choices?

You can learn more about St. Helena Early Childhood Community Network programs by logging onto and selecting the Academic Department under  "Our District".


How can I determine program eligibility?

You can pre-determine program eligibility by accessing the St. Helena Early Childhood Community Network website at


How do I apply?

You can apply by accessing and selecting the “Unified Application” link. Print out the application and take to the program of your choice. Early learning sites also keep paper copies in their main office.


What documents do I need to apply?

You will need to submit copies of the following documents to the site during the application process:

How is program placement determined for children?

Submitting an application does not guarantee your child has met the requirements for admittance to the program of choice. Placement is determined by the following factors: 1) age, 2) eligibility, 3) choice, and 4) space.


When will I know if my child has been accepted?

Enrollment for each program year is generally determined by the end of June. Parents will be notified by email or letter of their child’s status.


Will transportation be provided?

Transportation will be provided for children enrolled in St. Helena Head Start & Early Head Start and St. Helena Early Learning Center through the school bus system.


Is there an age requirement for Head Start and Pre K?

What is a developmental milestone?

A developmental milestone is a skill that a child acquires within a specific time frame. Milestones develop in a sequential fashion so a child will need to develop some skills before he or she can develop new skills. Click here to learn more about age-appropriate developmental milestones.