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Head Start is a federal program that promotes the school readiness of children ages birth to five from low-income families by enhancing their cognitive, social, and emotional development.

Head Start programs provide a learning environment that supports children's growth in the following domains:

  • language and literacy;
  • cognition and general knowledge;
  • physical development and health;
  • social and emotional development; and
  • approaches to learning.

Head Start programs provide comprehensive services to enrolled children and their families, which include health, nutrition, social, and other services determined to be necessary by family needs assessments, in addition to education and cognitive development services. Head Start services are designed to be responsive to each child and family's ethnic, cultural, and linguistic heritage.

Head Start emphasizes the role of parents as their child's first and most important teacher. Head Start programs build relationships with families that support:

  • family well-being and positive parent-child relationships;
  • families as learners and lifelong educators;
  • family engagement in transitions;
  • family connections to peers and community; and
  • families as advocates and leaders.

Over a million children are served by Head Start programs every year, including children in every U.S. state and territory and in American Indian and Alaska Native communities. Since 1965, more than 30 million low-income children and their families have received these comprehensive services to increase their school readiness.

Visit the head start home web site for additional information at http://eclkc.ohs.acf.hhs.gov/hslc/hs/about

 

 

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