The beginning years of a child’s life are critical for building the early foundation needed for success later in school and in life. Leading economists agree that high-quality early learning programs can help level the playing field for children from lower-income families on vocabulary, social and emotional development, while helping students to stay on track and stay engaged in the early elementary grades. Children who attend these programs are more likely to do well in school, find good jobs, and succeed in their careers than those who don’t.
Research has shown that taxpayers receive a high average return on investments in high-quality early childhood education, with savings in areas like improved educational outcomes, increased labor productivity, and a reduction in crime.
“In states that make it a priority to educate our youngest children…studies show students grow up more likely to read and do math at grade level, graduate high school, hold a job, form more stable families of their own. We know this works. So let’s do what works and make sure none of our children start the race of life already behind.” President Barack Obama, State of the Union, February 12, 2013
The Goals of Early Head Start
- To provide safe and developmentally enriching care-giving which promotes the physical, cognitive, social and emotional development of infants and toddlers, and prepares them for future growth and development;
- To support parents, both mothers and fathers, in their role as primary caregivers and teachers of their children, and families in meeting personal goals and achieving self-sufficiency across a wide variety of domains;
- To mobilize communities to provide the resources and environment necessary to ensure a comprehensive, integrated array of services and support for families.
The Principles of Early Head Start
These principles are designed to nurture healthy attachments between parent and child (and child and caregiver), emphasize a strengths-based, relationship-centered approach to services, and encompass the full range of a family’s needs from pregnancy through a child’s third birthday. Continue reading →
The Care Center Foundation Pennsylvania Pre-K Counts Program.
The Pennsylvania Pre-K Counts Program provides quality half-day and full-day pre-kindergarten to eligible 3 and 4 year old children in Pennsylvania.
The Pennsylvania Pre-K Counts program:
- is based on the quality components adopted for pre-kindergarten by the State Board of Education;
- provides families in participating communities with a choice of quality pre-kindergarten
options in a school, child care center, Head Start, or nursery school;
- increases access to quality pre-kindergarten to children and families throughout the commonwealth with a priority in at-risk communities; and
- builds on the work of the Pre-K Counts Public-Private Partnership for Educational Success, a three-year project funded by leading Pennsylvania foundations and supported by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
is a comprehensive preschool program for low-income ages birth through age five. It provides children with a developmentally appropriate early childhood education. The program ensures that young children get health checkups and treatment, oral health screenings, and that they are fed a nutritious hot meal every day. Head Start is unique in its comprehensive approach to the needs of children and families, which adheres to federally designated standards.
The Head Start Program is supported by federal funds through the Administration of Children, Youth and Families at the Department of Health and Human Services.