Head Start provides newborns to 5-year-olds a safe learning environment that supports growth in many areas including language, literacy, and social and emotional development.
The Harris County Department of Education serves more than 1,300 students annually through the Head Start program with free healthy meals and snacks, vision, hearing, nutrition and developmental screenings, and physical activity indoors and outdoors in a healthy environment.
Our campuses follow the Frog Street Press curriculum, a program approved by the Texas Education Agency. Head Start is consistently shown to improve educational outcomes for students by increasing the probability that they graduate from high school, attend college and receive additional licenses or certifications.
In addition, we provide comprehensive services for enrolled children and their families. Our Family Services Providers assist families with health, education, nutrition, financial, or any service deemed necessary for the family to be successful.
Head Start emphasizes the role of parents as their child's first and most important teacher. Parents are encouraged to volunteer throughout our program, in classes and through our center-based Parent Committee and Policy Council.
Our locations include Compton, Coolwood, Dogan, Fifth Ward, Fonwood, Pugh, Sheffield (Galena Park), Barrett Station (Crosby), Baytown and JD Walker (Goose Creek), Channelview, Humble, La Porte, Tidwell (Sheldon), Crosby, Pasadena, and Houston.
What does Head Start offer your children?
Curriculum: Frog Street Pre-K is a comprehensive, bilingual program that integrates instruction across developmental domains and early learning disciplines. The program focuses on both academic development as well as social-emotional development, using differentiated and varying approaches to instruction to meet the needs of all Head Start learners. There are nine themes totaling 180 days of instruction and family engagement to support the whole learner. The curriculum was developed by well-known researchers and publishers across the education field, basically a "dream team of early childhood professionals."
Ongoing assessment/school readiness: HCDE Head Start works with parents, teachers and district partners to establish an ongoing assessment process. The process is aligned to the Head Start Child Development and Early Learning Framework, state early learning guidelines and local school district's expectations for students transitioning into kindergarten. Student's progress is measured based on curriculum expectations, typical development and school readiness goals.
Students with disabilities: Head Start supports all classroom learners. The Education and Special Services (ESS) team supports classroom education by providing professional development training to classroom teaching staff, supporting the Assistant Center Managers in mentoring, and providing continuity across the program with developmental screening, ESS follow-ups, home visits, parent-teacher conferences, and ongoing assessment procedures and expectations. All students receive individualized daily instruction. Students who enter Head Start needing additional developmental support or who are identified as needing additional support through screening will be supported by the ESS team and families through the referral process.
What does Head Start offer your family?
The Head Start program offers a variety of services to meet the overall needs of its families. Head Start families receive individualized support to meet goals they have set for themselves and case management services to ensure the health and wellbeing of their students. Head Start works with families to ensure students are up to date on immunizations, that they receive dental exams every six months and a physical exam every 12 months. The program assists families in connecting with many community resources, such as GED or ESL classes, counseling services and job training.
In addition to providing family support services, Head Start works to strengthen parental involvement at home, at school and in the community. By participating in parent groups and literacy activities, families discover new and exciting ways to make the most out of everyday teaching moments. There are many opportunities for volunteering within the program, such as assisting in the classroom, which helps improve school readiness for students and broadens the experiences of family members. Parents may also assume leadership roles within the program by serving as officers on the Policy Council or Parent Committee. By participating in the program this way, parents raise their own self-confidence and learn how to advocate for their students and others.