Services & Supports
Head Start Services
Head Start is a federal program that promotes the school readiness of children ages birth to 5 from low-income families by enhancing their cognitive, social and emotional development. Head Start programs provide a learning environment that supports children’s growth in:
- Language and literacy
- Cognition and general knowledge
- Physical development and health
- Social and emotional development
- Approaches to learning
Head Start programs provide comprehensive services to enrolled children and their families, which include health, nutrition, social services and other services determined to be necessary by family needs assessments, in addition to education and cognitive development services. Head Start services are designed to be responsive to each child and family’s ethnic, cultural and linguistic heritage.
Head Start emphasizes the role of parents as their child’s first and most important teacher. Head Start programs build relationships with families that support:
- Family well-being and positive parent-child relationships
- Families as learners and lifelong educators
- Family engagement in transitions
- Family connections to peers and community
- Families as advocates and leaders
About Early Head Start
The reauthorization of the Head Start Act in 1994 made it possible to establish Early Head Start as a program to serve infants and toddlers under the age of 3, and pregnant women.
Early Head Start provides early, continuous, intensive, and comprehensive child development and family support services to low-income infants and toddlers and their families, and pregnant women and their families.
The Goals of Early Head Start
- To provide safe and developmentally enriching caregiving which promotes the physical, cognitive, social and emotional development of infants and toddlers, and prepares them for future growth and development;
- To support parents, both mothers and fathers, in their role as primary caregivers and teachers of their children, and families in meeting personal goals and achieving self-sufficiency across a wide variety of domains;
- To mobilize communities to provide the resources and environment necessary to ensure a comprehensive, integrated array of services and support for families;
- To ensure the provision of high quality responsive services to family through the development of trained, and caring staff.