Head Start and Early Head Start are national programs that provide comprehensive developmental services for low income children from birth to age five, as well as social services for their families.
Head Start serves low income children between the ages of three and five, providing a wide range of services to meet the goals of four core services:
- Education – Head Start's educational program is designed to meet the needs of each child, the community, and its ethnic and cultural traditions. Every child receives a variety of learning experiences to foster intellectual, social and emotional growth.
- Health – Head Start stresses the importance of the early identification of health problems. Every child is involved in a comprehensive health program, which includes immunizations, medical, dental and mental health, and nutritional services.
- Parent Involvement – An essential part of Head Start is the involvement of parents in education, program planning and other activities.
- Social Services – Services are tailored to each family, depending on their needs. These services can include: community outreach, referrals, family need assessments, recruitment and enrollment of children, and emergency assistance and/or crisis intervention.
Early Head Start: This program provides the benefits of early childhood development services to low income families with infants and toddlers under the age of three, and pregnant mothers. The purpose of Early Head Start is to:
- Enhance children's physical, social, emotional and cognitive development;
- Enable parents to be better caregivers and better teachers to their children; and
- Help parents meet their own goals, including economic independence.
For more information, contact your local Head Start or Early Head Start program.