Head Start and Early Head Start (EHS) are early childhood education programs for children birth to 5 years old. These programs promote the building blocks of school readiness and lifelong learning through the five (5) areas
- Physical Development and Health
- Language and Literacy
- Cognitive and General Knowledge (Social Studies, History, Family and Community, Problem Solving and Symbolic Representation, Scientific Skills and Method, Conceptual
- Knowledge of the Physical and Natural World, Number Concepts, Quantities and Operations, Geometry, Patterns and Measurement)
- Approaches to Learning, (Music, Creative Movement, Art, Drama, Imitative and Curiosity Persistence and Cooperation)
- Social and Emotional Development
The programs offers full day and part day center based program options for families who qualify. A home based option is available for families who prefer to gain the skills to teach their children in their homes or is the more appropriate option for children with special needs. All program options provide children with a strong foundation for both social and emotional competence for school success.
Children enrolled in the program receive developmental, medical, dental, vision, hearing, and nutritional screenings with appropriate follow-up services. Healthy meals and snacks are provide and accommodations are made for special nutritional needs when feasible.
Who We Serve
- In Head Start – Children 3 to 4 years of age are eligible to participate with priority given to 4 year olds.
- In Early Head Start – Infants and toddlers through 32.9 months of age in the communities of Beaumont, Casa Blanca and Stokoe (Riverside), Perris, Lake Elsinore Unified School District, Romoland School District,and Palm Springs Unified School District have programs available for qualified families.
- Services are available for children with special needs and they are mainstreamed into classes that are developmentally appropriate for their needs.
How We Provide Services
The Riverside County Office of Education (RCOE) provides Head Start and Early Head Start either throughout the county through sites it operates directly or through delegate agencies that contract with RCOE. There are three types of program options:
- Part Day – Children are in a center based class either in the morning or afternoon for 3.5 hours per day.
- Full Day – Children are in a center based class for 6.5 hours per day. Parents must be working or attending school/training full time with no care giver in the home in order to qualify for this program option.
- Home Based – A teacher visits the home once a week for 1.5 hours and works with the parent to help them with strategies on how to use their home, the child’s primary learning environment, to enhance their child’s growth, development, and school readiness skills. Two socializations are also offered each month for all the children and their parents. These meetings may be held in a center based classroom, a community center, or a field trip and emphasize peer group interactions.
A key to strengthening school readiness is systematic, integrated and comprehensive Parents, Family, and Community Engagement (PFCE). PFCE is anchored in leadership priorities, program management, continuous improvement systems, and staff development.
Effective PFCE activities are carried out throughout the entire organization. For example: site managers, teachers, instructional assistants, community assistants, home based teachers, health and disabilities staff all play a role in engaging families and supporting school readiness.
The full range of strengths, interest and needs of adults and children in the family are considered and staff support families by connecting them with services and resources to achieve their goals. Learning is enhanced when families and programs work together to create meaningful learning opportunities, both in the program and at home.
The Head Start and Early Head Start programs encourage strong parent involvement through participation on site parent committees, the program-wide parent Policy Council, personnel interviews, and other program activities. Having parents volunteer in the classrooms is strongly encouraged. Parent involvement helps families gain the skills and knowledge that will help them become stronger advocates for their children as they move through the K-12 systems.
If you would like more information on the Head Start or Early Head Start program, please call our toll free number (800) 600-1800.
Our Frequently Asked Questions page provides answers to typically asked about the Head Start and Early Head Start programs.
Our Resources page offers links to additional Web sites for parents seeking services.