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
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.
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.