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Unalaska Head Start expands, offers relief for parents

APIA's new Head Start facility is located on Strawberry Hill's Biorka Drive.
Kanesia McGlashan-Price
APIA's new Head Start facility is located on Strawberry Hill's Biorka Drive.

Unalaska’s Head Start early childhood program opened a second class in January for children three to five years old. The new class can take up to 20 children and is expected to help out parents on the island, where child care can be tough to find.

Daisy Pereat, lead teacher for Unalaska’s new Head Start class, taught elementary school in the Philippines for several years before working at Head Start for the past five years. She’s thrilled about the second classroom opening.

“We’re just excited it’s finally open,” she said. “Here in Dutch Harbor, a lot of people — a lot of families, parents — are working. So, they are really struggling. It's like a big relief for them.”

Unalaska’s Head Start is run by the Aleutian Pribilof Islands Association, a regional, nonprofit tribal organization. The only other preschool option on the island is Eagle’s View Elementary School.

Pereat said the new Head Start classroom will run for half days, while the other classroom will remain a full-day program. School bus service will be provided to students as well. Unalaska’s Head Start also has plans to add more classes at different times and for younger children, Pereat said.

There are currently six kids enrolled in the new Head Start classroom but they are taking applications for more students. For more information call the Head Start Center at 907-581-6469.

Sofia was born and raised in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado. She’s reported around the U.S. for local public radio stations, NPR and National Native News. Sofia has a Master of Arts in Environmental Science and Natural Resource Journalism from the University of Montana, a graduate certificate in Documentary Studies from the Salt Institute and a Bachelor of Arts in Studio Arts from the University of Colorado Boulder. In between her studies, Sofia was a ski bum in Telluride, Colorado for a few years.
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