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About Head Start

Head Start supports the development of the whole child. In addition to providing early learning experiences to help children improve their academic skills, Head Start promotes children’s physical wellness and social-emotional development, important factors in school readiness and future academic success.
All programs must meet the rigorous Head Start Program Performance Standards that define quality services for children and families enrolled in Head Start. Programs use the Head Start Child Outcomes Frameworks to track preschool children’s progress in eight domains of learning that include language, literacy, mathematics, science, creative arts, social and emotional development, approaches to learning, and physical development. Children who are dual language learners are supported in their home language as well as in English language acquisition. See below for an example of one MA program’s child outcomes.
A variety of options are vailable to families including part and full day programs, placements in family child care, and home-based services. To find out which options are available in your community, search for a Head Start program. To learn more about Head Start, click here.
Photo: © Don West
  • “The Head Start Child Outcomes Framework explicitly states the
    goals toward which preschool children
    should be progressing
    over the course of their participation in the Head Start program. Keeping track of children's progress toward accomplishing positive child outcomes helps assure that all children benefit fully
    from their participation
    in the program.”
    • excerpt from the Head
      Start Leaders Guide to Positive Child Outcomes