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Head Start

Established in 1965, the Head Start program has expanded to meet the needs of children and families across the United States and its territories. Head Start programs have reached more than 38 million children and their families.


Head Start is a federally funded program that supports children’s growth from birth to five-years-old through services centered around: 

  • Early learning and development
  • Health 
  • Family well-being

Head Start programs actively engage parents, recognizing family participation throughout the program as key to strong child outcomes.

Created in 1965, under the administration of President Lyndon B. Johnson, Head Start services are available at no cost to eligible families. Head Start preschool services work with children ages 3 to 5 and their families. In 1994, as part of the reauthorization of the Head Start Act, President William J. Clinton created Early Head Start. Early Head Start services work with families that have children ages birth to 3, and many also serve expectant families.

Today, many programs operate both Head Start preschool and Early Head Start services, which are delivered in center-based, home-based, and/or family child care settings. All Head Start and Early Head Start programs continually work toward ensuring eligible children and families receive high-quality services in safe and healthy environments so that they can achieve their potential in school and life.

Over the course of nearly 60 years, Head Start has served more than 38 million children and their families.

Learn More

To learn more about Head Start, visit the Office of Head Start’s website.

To find the Head Start program nearest you, use the Administration for Children and Families Early Childhood Learning and Knowledge Center (ECLKC) program locator or the National Head Start Association (NHSA) program locator.

Acelero Learning and Head Start

Each Acelero Learning program is a member of both its state Head Start association and the National Head Start Association (NHSA), a private not-for-profit membership organization dedicated exclusively to meeting the needs of Head Start children and their families. Acelero Learning sponsors NHSA’s annual conference and works closely with this national body to advocate for more funds for Head Start and Early Head Start programs.