The Benefits of Head Start

Head Start programs support the mental, social, and emotional development of children aged 3 to 5 years old. In addition to education services, programs provide children and their families with health, nutrition, social, and other services. Head Start services are responsive to each child and family's ethnic, cultural, and linguistic heritage.

Head Start encourages the role of parents as their child's first and most important teachers. Programs build relationships with families that support positive parent-child relationships, family well-being, and connections to peers and community.

Head Start defines school readiness as children being ready for school, families ready to support their children's learning, and schools ready for the children who enter their doors.

Children's school readiness is measured by the skills set out in the five domains of the (Head Start Child Development and Early Learning Framework):

  • Language and Literacy
  • Cognition and General Knowledge
  • Approaches to Learning
  • Physical Development and Health
  • Social and Emotional Development
  • Families are engaged in their children's learning and development and are poised to support the lifelong success of their child. Head Start recognizes that parents are their children's primary teachers and advocates.

    As Head Start programs, parents, and schools work together to promote school readiness and engage families as their children make the transition to kindergarten, schools become ready for children.

    Head Start comprehensive services include:

  • Education
  • Screenings and follow-up for health, development, and behavior
  • Health and safety
  • Social and emotional health
  • Nutrition
  • Family goal-setting
  • Social services
  • Transition services
  • Services for children with disabilities
  • Comprehensive services are delivered in a learning environment that is individualized to support children's growth in the five essential domains. A minimum of 10% of a program's total enrollment must be children with disabilities. Additionally, Head Start services are designed to be responsive to each child and family's ethnic, cultural, and linguistic heritage.