Head Start is a full-service program for preschool children and their families. Head Start primarily serves three and four year olds from low-income families. Some agencies also provide a program for infants, toddlers and pregnant mothers. All local Head Start programs must reserve space (at least 10%) for children with disabilities.
The overall goal of Head Start is to help young children be ready for school. Research has shown the lasting benefits of Head Start. Head Start works to strengthen all the influences on the child’s development. Children learn through planned activities. Head Start services include education, health, nutrition, mental health and social services.
Another goal of Head Start is to help families become self-sufficient through programs such as Adult Basic Education, family literacy and job training. Parents also learn how to use available resources to meet family needs. Parents are involved in all aspects of Head Start. This includes the opportunity to make decisions about program plans and policies.