Over one million young children and pregnant women are served by Head Start every year in centers, family homes, and in family childcare homes in urban, suburban, and rural communities throughout the country. Head Start and Early Head Start serve a diverse group of children and families – 38% are Hispanic/Latino and almost 29% are Black. Still, only 31% of eligible 3-5 year olds, and 6% of children under the age of 3 have access to Head Start. These programs promotes school readiness and health for low-income students, helps break the cycle of poverty, and provides family well-being by supporting parents and families in their own goals such as housing stability and continued education. Head Start is unique in the fact that it doesn’t just concentrate on brain development or promoting language and literacy learning (it does that too!) but it also looks at the whole child and provides our littlest learners with all they will need to be successful later in life – everything from nutritious meals, to oral health, to social skills and emotional well-being.
Head Start successfully targets its programs specifically to the population they are serving: low-income families struggling to make ends meet. The success of Head Start can be seen many years out as students grow and develop throughout their education. We know Head Start works because we hear from so many alumni of the program who attended Head Start in their early years and went on to academic and career success later on in life. Studies show that Head Start students are more likely to complete high school, attend college, and even have better health outcomes. They are also less likely to have been charged with a crime or become a teenage parent.
Yet, programs like Head Start are at risk to make tax cuts for large corporations. Parents across the country aren’t going to stand for this nonsense. We asked for your stories on how these programs help your family and thousands of you responded. Here are some of the stories you have sent us! Want to share how SNAP, Medicaid, WIC, and/or Head Start has impacted your family? Share your story with us today!
Rachel from Maine,
“Without Head Start my daughter would of never got speech therapy services. She couldn’t hear well due to ear infections. With tubes and Head Start she bloomed. She learned friendships, spelling her name. My daughter got books we couldn’t afford. She learned to love books. I was able to take part in education classes and get CPR certified for free. Our case manager helped us with so much outside the classroom. Head Start is a necessity for families to prepare for kindergarten and beyond. Its essential.”
Carolyn from Vermont,
“My youngest son went to Head Start. Our Head Start was a warm, supportive environment. As a parent, I felt included. Their flexibility made it possible for me to work full-time. It is a wonderful program.”
Judy from Arizona,
“Forty-five years ago, Head Start was there for my son in a small Arizona town. Not only did he learn to better interact with the world and make friends, I took a class offered to parents through the community college distance learning program and had my eyes opened to what early education entailed and how much it meant to children. I wish all parents and all voters could learn what Head Start can contribute to our country and world.”
Rebecca from Kansas,
“I live in a small rural town in Kansas, and kept my 4-year-old granddaughter much of the time while her single mom went to college. I was surprised to find that Head Start was available in my area, and she was eligible. It was wonderful! Dedicated, enthusiastic teachers who loved their charges, and the kids learned so much during the year. The biggest change I noticed was the increase in confidence my granddaughter had as she experienced the new ideas and friendships there.”
Linda from Tennessee,
“Head Start was where my children had time to learn how to get along and have special treatment to have time to learn and to get the special personal touch of what learning is all about. The kid’s learn how to get along and to get to know other children and learn that all kids are different.”