Special Projects Coordinator – Head Start

Location of Service: Knoxville-Knox County Head Start/Early Head Start – 901 N. Broadway, Knoxville, TN 37917

About Head Start:

Knoxville-Knox County Head Start/Early Head Start serves low-income children ages birth to kindergarten. Our goals for the playground work include: to increase access for the children to natural elements; to increase outdoor play to include gardening, mud kitchens, sandpits, water play, etc.; to develop an appreciation for children about gardening, care, and benefits of plants. We work to engage families to the extent possible.

Position Summary:
  • Work with the Special Projects Coordinator (SPC) in the creation and maintenance of the Natural Playgrounds at the seven Head Start centers.
  • Have assigned daily duties for which they are responsible for completing independently in addition to assisting SPC with creation projects as they occur.
  • Will require heavy lifting and outdoor work in all weather conditions.
  • Candidate should have an appreciation for the importance of physical play for young children, possess a respect for natural settings and see the value of unscripted contact with nature and natural settings in early childhood.
  • Assist the SPC with the construction and installation of playground features; this could include moving and stabilizing heavy wood pieces and rock, the construction of sandboxes, mud pits, and other play features.
  • Assist the SPC with the construction of outdoor furniture items such as mud kitchens, picnic tables, water sluices, etc. These duties could include the cutting and sanding of lumber, construction of play features, and the finishing of the product with stains and other wood treatment products.
  • Care and management of both flower and vegetable gardens; this will include planting, weeding, tilling, and daily watering.
  • Build garden boxes, install landscape edging and stone, collect native plants, grow plants from seed, and miscellaneous care of garden spaces.
  • Assist the SPC in the collection of natural items; this could include tree parts, large rock, plants, and a variety of items that can be used in the creation of play features. This work will require heavy lifting, digging, being in close proximity to waterways, and contact with natural settings.
  • Oversee volunteers; this could include scheduling individual volunteers through the University of Tennessee or CAC AmeriCorps, coordinating with other programs to have volunteer group work days, training and supervising volunteers, and prioritizing assignments based on the needs of the school/playground and considering volunteer abilities and preferences.
  • Conduct periodic inspections of playground areas to identify potential hazards and repair needs; all concerns would be submitted to the SPC for follow up care.
  • Assist with the daily maintenance and upkeep of the shop area which includes sweeping, clearing and disposing of work debris, and other general shop upkeep including the proper care and maintenance of shop materials.
  • Identify grant sources and complete grant applications with support from SPC.
  • Maintain and submit all required documentation, including but not limited to daily logs and vehicle mileage reports, as instructed by the SPC.
  • Assist SPC with product inventory, request materials as needed.
  • Participate in all required Head Start training sessions to gain an understanding of Head Start policies and procedures.
  • Demonstrate professional behaviors while working with other Head Start Staff, Community Partners, Head Start Families, and children.

The member(s) in this position will have the opportunity to gain the following skills/credentials:

  • Learn the importance of natural play for children and see possibilities for learning in non-traditional settings in ways that many of these children do not have access to elsewhere.
  • Gain skills in building and the use of tools.
  • Gain experience in finding funding resources and writing grant applications.
  • Gain experience in supervising others and coordinating volunteer events, including scheduling, prioritizing assignments, and training.
  • Opportunity to network with other organizations as they reach out to community partners and outreach resources.
Site Preferences/Qualifications:
  • Physically active; able to bend, dig, move soil/earth, stoop, lift heavy materials.
  • Able to work with small team and independently.
  • Able to drive agency truck; daily use of personal vehicle with a minimum of liability insurance for use during service; mileage will be reimbursed at the program rate of $0.47 per mile.
  • Ability to learn new skills as required for projects (e.g., use of tools, care of plants).
  • Interest in environment, especially related to outdoor access for young children.
  • Must pass background check for Daycare licensing (fingerprints).
  • Experience in woodworking is preferred but not required, duties can be adjusted to meet the skill level of the candidate. Candidate would follow all OSHA guidelines pertaining to the use of tools and safety equipment.
  • Basic knowledge of plant care is preferred but not required, training in this area will be provided.
  • Candidate should be comfortable working outdoors in natural spaces which will include bodies of water, in a variety of weather conditions (e.g., cold, heat, rain).
  • This position will call for both independent work and working with other team members on specific tasks. The best-suited candidate for this position will need to be flexible and open-minded, possess a willingness to learn, have a team approach in their work, the ability to follow directions and complete assignments as instructed with a team or independently, possess critical thinking skills that allow them to provide new ideas for project growth and improvement, and understand that all tasks are intended to provide the best possible outdoor environment for the Head Start children.

Equity and Inclusion: The Knoxville-Knox County Community Action Committee (CAC) is an Equal Opportunity Employer and will take action to ensure that members and employees are treated equally without regard to race, color, national origin, sex, gender, romantic/sexual orientation, age, handicap, cultural or religious convictions.  CAC AmeriCorps provides reasonable accommodations to applicants and employees.  Applicants with disabilities may request reasonable accommodation at any point in the recruitment / employment process.