Free early childhood programs are available to eligible families with young children.
Head Start programs support children's growth from birth to age 5 through a variety of services, including early learning and development, health, and family well-being. Some Head Start preschool programs only serve families with children ages 3 to 5. Early Head Start programs serve families with children ages birth to 3, and many also serve expectant families.
Our programs help children get ready to succeed in school and in life through learning experiences tailored to their current needs and abilities.
These programs may be provided in different settings according to your needs, including family child care locations, your own home, and Head Start and Early Head Start centers.
All Head Start programs serve families from diverse cultural backgrounds and who speak different languages.
Head Start Services for Children and Families
Early Learning and Development
- We build strong relationships as the foundation of early learning.
- We support learning through play, creative expression, and guided activities.
- We support children’s social and emotional development.
- We promote early math and science concepts in children’s home languages and in English.
- We promote language and literacy development in children’s home languages and in English.
Health and Wellness
- We promote physical development, both indoors and outdoors.
- We serve breakfast, lunch, and healthy snacks.
- We provide medical, dental, hearing, vision, and behavioral screening.
Family Partnership and Well-being
- We provide parent and family services.
- We help families find assistance in challenging times.
- We help families identify and reach their goals, including goals related to housing, employment, education, and parenting.
- We invite parents to share information and insights about their child.
- We invite parents to offer ways to improve children and families’ experience in the program.
- We build on children’s strengths.
- We individualize experiences to meet the needs of each child.
- We collaborate with parents and community agencies when further assessment is needed.
Mental Health Services
- We help families understand and support their child’s needs.
- We can assist with mental health services for children and families, if needed.
Find out if your family is eligible for Head Start or Early Head Start services today!
Learn more by contacting a program near you!
- Find out more about your family’s eligibility and program locations at Apply for Services.
- Call (toll-free) 866-763-6481 if you have questions.
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Resource Type: Publication
National Centers: Parent, Family and Community Engagement
Last Updated: April 5, 2022