Head Start


Ismail Nakonechny, 8, reads to his sisters Evelina, 6, and Elvira, 4. The three children participated in the programs of Northwest Montana Head Start and Elvira is currently enrolled in the program. Head Start is a United Way Member Agency.

Oksana Nakonechny is a big believer in Head Start: she has seen the difference its made in her own family.

“Head Start does a really good job getting my children ready for kindergarten,” said Nakonechny, the mother of seven.  She learned about the program in time for her third child to participate, and found that he was far better prepared for kindergarten than his older siblings.
“The things they needed to know for kindergarten, they already knew,” she said. Three of her children have participated in Head Start over the past six years, and her two youngest will go when they are four.

Northwest Montana Head Start, a United Way Member Agency, serves 223 children at three locations in the Flathead Valley. Services include education, transportation and health and nutrition.
“It’s like an introduction to how school works,” Nakonechny said. “Head Start has helped them. They just have so much for them. They really enjoy it.”

The Nakonechny children are tri-lingual. They speak Ukrainian at home, Russian at church and English in school. The Head Start program has helped them become more proficient in English and more comfortable in school.

The program has helped their whole family, she said, by helping them to set goals and achieve them.

Her husband, who had finished high school in his native Ukraine but wasn’t considered a high school graduate in the United States, earned his GED. She said the Head Start program helped motivate him to work toward a career as an electrician, “Head Start helped us with that,” she said.