Head Start is a federally-funded program that provides preschool education and ensures that both children and parents are prepared for kindergarten and for a life of learning. However, Head Start promotes far more than a quality education. Through either direct service or referrals, Head Start children also receive numerous health services ensuring good physical, dental, nutritional, and mental health. Head Start is available at no cost to pregnant moms, infants, toddlers, and preschoolers up to age five from income-eligible families. Children with special needs are welcome.
Three different Head Start programs exist to best serve our children and parents:
Head Start serves children ages 3-5 who are not eligible for kindergarten.
Early Head Start
Early Head Start serves pregnant women and children under 3 years of age.
Home-Based Head Start
The Home-Based program supports families by providing in-home services to assist parents in the educational growth of their children. Home Visitors come into the home weekly and work with parent and child on activities designed to address their child’s individual needs. Children also learn through socialization during regular visits to a center.
The Head Start home-based program (ages 3-5) is 9 months and the Early Head Start home-based program (birth-3 years of age) is 12 months. Home-based Head Start is a great alternative to traditional preschool education if the parent is not ready for their child to go to a center or if the parent wants more one-on-one assistance in helping their child prepare for a life of learning. Two options exist for home-based services:
1.5 hours of home visitation weekly and center socialization twice monthly; or
1.5 hours of home visitation bi-weekly and center socialization twice a week.
For more than 40 years, thousands of children and their families have received services through Head Start. The program began as a pilot project in 1964, aimed at breaking the cycle of poverty by providing quality education to preschool children from low-income families. Established by the Economic Opportunity Act, the CAA program is the second oldest Head Start program in the nation.