A National Commitment

Head Start is a federal early childhood education program that promotes the school readiness of childrenfrom low-income families, prenatal to age five, by enhancing their cognitive, social and emotional development. It is the national commitment to give every child, regardless of circumstances at birth, an opportunity to succeed in school and in life. In the nearly six decades since its inception, Head Start and Early Head Start have improved the lives of more than 37 million children and their families.

Head Start alumni are in all walks of the nation’s life. Educators, doctors, lawyers, military personnel, artists, engineers, religious and civic leaders, and scientists—from all across the country—remember Head Start as the place where, at an early age, they acquired a life-long love of learning.

In addition to life and school preparedness, Head Start is also the nation’s laboratory for early childhood education and learning innovation. Head Start offers a unique whole child/whole family program design coupled with a delivery system that includes local programs, national standards, monitoring, professional development, and family engagement. This has been the basis for many subsequent statewide and community initiatives.