Links Between Health and the Five Essential Domains of the Head Start Child Development and Early Learning Framework (HSCDELF)

Head Start provides "health, educational, nutritional, social, and other services that are determined, based on family needs assessments, to be necessary."1 Staff coordinate and deliver these services as part of a "whole child" approach to child development. All staff impact child development through the health services they deliver. By promoting health and safety and helping to identify health concerns, staff play a critical role in school readiness. Note: This resource is under review.

Each of the five domain pages describes the links between health and an essential learning domain of school readiness. For more information, select .

Each domain page includes:

  • A short statement about the link between children's health and the specific learning domain
  • Research connections with science-informed evidence
  • A printable table including:
    • Examples of school readiness goals for infants and toddlers related to that domain developed by the Early Head Start National Resource Center
    • Examples of school readiness goals for preschool children related to that domain developed by the National Center on Quality Teaching and Learning
    • Suggested health strategies that support the goal with links for further information

Connect to examples of school readiness goals and health services that support them by selecting a domain below:

Programs may have school readiness goals other than the examples featured in the table. After reviewing each domain, use the Guide to Other School Readiness Goals to find links to health services for these topics.


1H.R. 1429-110th Congress: Improving Head Start for School Readiness Act of 2007. Section 636(2). (2007). Retrieved from

* 45 CFR 1307(b)(2)(ii) and The National Education Goals Panel refer to this domain as physical well-being and motor development. Snow, C. E. & Van Hemel, S. B. (Eds.) (2008). Early Childhood Assessment: Why, what, and how? (p. 87). National Research Council of the National Academies. Washington, DC: National Academies Press.

Last Updated: November 14, 2016