Head Start is a Federal program for preschool children from low-income families. The Head Start program is operated by local non-profit organizations in almost every county in the country. Children who attend Head Start participate in a variety of educational activities. They also receive free medical and dental care, have healthy meals and snacks, and enjoy playing indoors and outdoors in a safe setting.

Head Start helps all children succeed. Services are offered to meet the special needs of children with disabilities. Most children in Head Start are between the ages of three and five years old.

Head Start was first authorized by Congress in 1965 as a child development program for children of low-income families.  While some language may have changed over the years the goals of Head Start have remained pretty much the same:

developing the social competence of young children

implementing strategies that promote school readiness

providing comprehensive family development services

involving parents in program decision making; and

accessing and utilizing community resources to support the program

 Head Start programs exist across the country and are unique in that they all operate a little differently. All programs must meet the same national Head Start Performance Standards, yet each is able to determine how best to do that in their community.

The Head Start Performance Standards are a set of laws and regulations that are required to be met by every program. The classroom curriculum, health and safety policies, child guidance and discipline, involving parents, are just a few of the more than 1,700 standards we must meet.





Last updated: 10/22/2013