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Headstart students get wet and messy
new deh head start water day main pic
Headstart students enjoy a run down a water slide Wednesday morning outside of the Washington Early Education Center in Great Bend during the last day of school water fun day. - photo by DALE HOGG Great Bend Tribune

No more teachers, no more books.
About 60 students from the Community Development Institute’s Barton County Headstart exchanged their pencils for squirt bottles Wednesday morning as they gathered on the lawn in front of the Washington Early Education Center in Great Bend. The idea – get wet and dirty.
Wednesday was the last session of classes for the youngsters and they celebrated with water fun day. “This is the first time we’ve ever done anything like this,” said Aimee Peschka, Great Bend Headstart director.
But, “it was fun,” she said. “We will do it again.”
With the sun shining and temperatures in the 80s, conditions were ideal. There were sprinklers, a water slide, a wading pool, garden hoses and a parachute. There were stations with mounds of shaving cream and a mud puddle.
“It was a chance to get outside on the last day and do as many messy projects as we could,” Peschka said. There was a method to the messiness. “It helps with sensory learning.”
The kids probably didn’t care too much about the lesson. They were totally into the mess part.
The center is licensed to serve 71 students, but some were absent for the event. It serves children ages 3 and 4 from across Barton County in the three half-day classes or one full-day class.
It was the last day for the kids and it was the last day for one of the teachers. Darla Carson is retiring after 18 years with Headstart where she taught in the full-day class. “That’s a long time,” Peschka said.
That didn’t keep Carson from participating Wednesday. She manned the wading pool as the kids fished out marbles from the bottom of the murky water.
CDI Headstart operates nine centers in several central Kansas counties. Each center is independent, but is not affiliated with the local school district.
Headstart programs in Barton, Butler, Greenwood, Harvey, Pawnee, and Rice counties are covered by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Community Development Institute Head Start (CDI). CDI stepped in last February when Mid-Kansas Community Action Program, based in Augusta, relinquished its grant to cover the communities.