Head Start is a federally funded program that serves children ages three to five who live in poverty, are homeless, are in foster care, or have a disability. ECEAP is a state-funded program serving the same low-income population.
The purpose of Head Start and ECEAP is to promote their school readiness by enhancing their cognitive, social, and emotional development. The high-quality learning environment provided by Head Start and ECEAP supports children’s growth in language and literacy; cognition and general knowledge; physical development and health; social and emotional learning; and approaches to learning.
Comprehensive services include education and cognitive development, health and nutrition services for the child; and family support and linkages to community social services for the family. Head Start and ECEAP services are designed to be responsive to each child and family’s ethnic, cultural, and linguistic heritage.
Transportation to and from home and school is provided for most of the centers.
The role of the parent as their child’s first and most important teacher is the foundation of developing a relationship between staff and the family. Head Start and ECEAP staff build relationships with families that support the family’s well-being and positive parent-child relationships; families as learners and lifelong educators; family engagement in transitions; family connections to peers and community; and families as advocates and leaders.