Head Start Frequently Asked Questions
- How can Head Start help my family?
- Is my child eligible?
- How much does it cost?
- How do I apply?
- Click here for an application in English
- Solicitud de Head Start en espanol
- How old must my child be to be eligible?
- What documents do you accept as proof of family income?
- What happens after I apply?
- What will my child learn?
- What does “school readiness” mean?
- My child has a disability. Can she participate in Head Start?
- My child does not speak English. Can he participate in Head Start?
- How do parents participate in Head Start and Early Head Start?
How can Head Start help my family?
Head Start and Early Head Start prepare children for success in school and prepare families to support their development. The Head Start approach to school readiness means that children are ready for school, families are ready to support their children’s learning and schools are ready for children. A high-quality early childhood education provides a strong foundation for future learning and success in school and in life.
All children receive developmental, behavioral, vision and hearing screenings. We work with families to ensure that children have medical and dental care, and proper nutrition. Children eat healthy meals and snacks every day.
Parents and family members are also prepared to fulfill their roles as their children’s first teachers. The family is the most important influence on a child, so we develop working partnerships with families to promote, support, and encourage family development and self sufficiency. We connect families to community resources, recognize families as the primary source of information and knowledge about their family systems, and engage them as full partners in the education of their children.
Is my child eligible?
How much does it cost?
Head Start and Early Head Start services are offered at no cost to eligible families.
How do I apply?
How old must my child be to be eligible?
What documents do you accept as proof of family income?
You must include copies of one or more of the following documents for the last 12 months from the date of your application:
- Most recent pay stub and W-2 forms.
- Most recent pay stub and income tax forms (1040 or 1040A).
- 12 months of pay stubs.
- Social Security Benefits or SSI award letter.
- Letter from your employer stating employment dates and wages paid.
- Verification of unemployment payments, such as a printout of payments from the Employment Division, income tax form, or Form 1099-G.
- Department of Health and Human Services income award letter (TANF).
- Foster Care award letter.
- Income Declaration Statement.
What happens after I apply?
When we receive your completed application, our enrollment staff will verify your child’s eligibility and will add your child’s name to a wait list. You will be contacted when a slot for your child is open.
What will my child learn?
Our program uses the research-based Creative Curriculum developed by Teaching Strategies, Inc. to plan lessons that help children grow and learn in several educational domains:
- Social-emotional development
- Physical development (gross motor and fine motor)
- Cognitive skills
We use the research-based assessment tool Teaching Strategies GOLD to assess children’s development. We regularly analyze assessment data to determine how well our program is serving children. We are committed to every child’s development and learning.
What does “school readiness” mean?
Children who grow up in poverty often begin school at a disadvantage, especially in language. This knowledge gap persists throughout school and lowers achievement levels for low-income children. Early childhood education can address these gaps before children enter kindergarten. Our program has developed school readiness goals that are aligned with the Head Start Child Development and Early Learning Framework, with state early learning standards, and with the requirements and expectations of the schools the children will be attending. We make every effort to ensure that children are well prepared to succeed in kindergarten and beyond.
My child has a disability. Can she participate in Head Start?
Yes. Children with disabilities and/or special needs are welcome in Head Start and participate along with their peers in classroom activities. At least 10 percent of enrollment opportunities are always made available to children with special needs. Through a partnership with the Northwest Regional Education Service District, we receive consultation services in all of our classrooms and operate several supported classrooms staffed by Head Start teachers and educational assistants from the NWRESD.
My child does not speak English. Can he participate in Head Start?
Yes. Children who do not yet speak English are welcome. Over 50 percent of children in our program speak a language other than English at home. Our staff is committed to providing high quality education for dual language learners. Program materials are available in English and Spanish. We also provide interpretation services at Parent Site Meetings and Policy Council Meetings so that parents who do not speak English can fully participate in the program.
How do parents participate in Head Start and Early Head Start?
Parents are the primary educators of their children. Every family in our program receives Home Visits. During these visits, teachers show parents how to use the home as a learning environment to support their children’s development.
Parents also participate in monthly Parent Site Meetings where topics of interest to families are presented. Recent topics have included financial literacy, mental health, nutrition, parenting practices and the transition to kindergarten. Interpretation services are available for parents who do not speak English.
Finally, parents who wish to participate in the shared governance of the program are invited to join Policy Council, an elected group of parents who represent each of our sites. Policy Council representatives participate in the decision-making process about the nature and operation of the program, and work as advocates on issues affecting children and families. Policy Council members build leadership skills and connections to their communities. Policy Council meetings take place from 5:30 to 8:30 PM at the Hillsboro Multi-Service Center on the third Tuesday of each month.