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Head Start Services

NCAP Head Start Program promotes the school readiness of young children from low-income families in partnership with programs and organizations within the local communities of our service area.

Head Start and Early Head Start programs support the comprehensive development of children from birth to age 5, in centers and in home environments.

Comprehensive development services include:

  • Early Learning- Program staff facilitate individualized learning experiences to promote children’s readiness for school and beyond.  Through planned and spontaneous instruction, relationships with families, and play, children grow in language and literacy, early math and science concepts, and social and emotional development.
  • Health- Children receive health and development screenings, nutritious meals, oral health and mental health support.  Program staff connect families with medical, dental, and mental health services, and ensure that children are receiving services that are needed.
  • Family well-being- Parents and families are supported through developing and achieving their own goals, such as housing stability, continued education, and financial literacy.  Programs support and strengthen parent-child relationships and engage families through a child’s learning and development.

The NCAP Head Start program conducts an annual community assessment to determine program options that best suit the needs of each community within the service area. The Head Start program is required to provide a 25% non-federal (in kind) match, which can be donated cash, goods and services, which follows the federal Head Start Performance Standards. This community support involves parents, community members, businesses and organizations to enhance services.

Head Start began as a program for preschoolers, serving children ages 3 to 5 years old.

Early Head Start serves pregnant women, infants, and toddlers. Early Head Start is available to the family until the child turns 3 years old and is ready to transition into Head Start or another pre-K program. Early Head Start helps families care for their infants and toddlers through early, continuous, intensive, and comprehensive services.

Both Head Start and Early Head Start programs offer a variety of service models, depending on the needs of the local community. Programs may be based in centers or in home environments through the home visitation model. Early Head Start services are provided through scheduling with the home visitors, whereas Head Start services may be part-day or full-day. Another program option is home-based services, in which a Home VIsitor visits children once a week in their own home and works with the parent as the child’s primary teacher. Children and families who receive home-based services meet twice monthly with other enrolled families for a group learning experience (group socializations) facilitated by the program's field staff.

What is school readiness?

The Office of Head Start (OHS) defines school readiness as children being ready for school, families ready to support their children’s learning, and schools ready for the children who enter their doors.

Children’s school readiness is measured by the skills outlined in the five domains of the Head Start Early Learning Outcomes Framework:.

  • Language and Literacy
  • Cognition and General Knowledge
  • Approaches to Learning
  • Physical Development and Health
  • Social and Emotional Development

Families are engaged in their children’s learning and development and are poised to support the lifelong success of their child. Head Start recognizes that parents are their children’s primary teachers and advocates.

Schools become ready for children when Head Start programs, parents, and schools work together to promote school readiness and engage families as their children make the transition to kindergarten