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Head Start Information

About Head Start
The Head Start program serves over 900,000 children and their families residing in lower income households across the nation. The program began in 1965, and its primary mission is that of preparing young children to enter school. Head Start has a long history of success and takes pride in being a national model for child and family development. Traditionally, Head Start served children from 3–5 years of age, but in recent years an Early Head Start program has been created to serve expectant families, infants, and toddlers, thus creating a 0–5 program.

Head Start offers a holistic approach to child growth and development; therefore, comprehensive services are offered including attention to areas such as health and nutrition. Head Start and Early Head Start programs serve children in center-based, home-based, and family childcare settings. The Head Start Bureau, part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, develops federal regulations and provides guidance to support the implementation of quality Head Start services.

Although transition is most often referenced in connection with the child’s transfer to kindergarten, Head Start programs typically view transition more broadly to include the many changes—large and small—that impact the development of the child and his or her family. In Head Start programs, one goal in caring for very young children, especially infants and toddlers, is to provide as much continuity as possible. Change is an inevitable part of life, but continuity of care should always be the primary consideration when caring for young children. When change is unavoidable, as is the case with the transition to kindergarten, thorough planning can support continuity and provide the key to transition success!

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