Programs

A boy playing with toys
Children playing with trains together

The cost for our services is based on a family’s income level. Some families may pay nothing, while others pay a discounted rate. Our team works with families to determine their cost.

  • A Caucasian woman holding two African American babies

    Early Head Start

    Early Head Start serves pregnant mothers and infants and toddlers, birth to three years old. This program promotes healthy prenatal outcomes and enhances the development of infants and toddlers. Babies can begin attending Children First once they are six weeks old. Early Head Start and Head Start services are for families who live at or below the Federal Poverty Level. Families may still be eligible for our services based on other criteria, such as a child with a diagnosed disability.

    Learn More About Early Head Start
  • A young African American girl in a classroom setting smiling toward the camera

    Head Start

    Head Start serves children three to five years old. This program focuses on school readiness. We help children learn the cognitive, social, and emotional skills they need for success in Kindergarten and beyond.

    Learn More About Head Start
  • An adult and children on a play mat

    Early Care and Education

    Our Early Care and Education program serves children from 6 weeks to 5 years of age. This program provides childcare to families who are working or in school. Early Care and Education is offered at selected sites at Children First. This is a fee-based program.

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  • A Caucasian woman and a young African American girl in a classroom setting. They are playing a game

    RISE

    After graduation from Children First, students and families may be eligible for continued support through Children First’s RISE program. Students in kindergarten through fifth grade who are enrolled in the RISE program at Emma E. Booker receive weekly, one-on-one literacy support with a volunteer mentor during the school day. Families also receive family advocacy services to support their child’s education.

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Head Start Approach

Head Start programs support children’s growth from birth to age 5 through services that support early learning and development, health, and family well-being. Head Start staff actively engage parents, recognizing family participation throughout the program as key to strong child outcomes.

Head Start services are available at no cost to children ages birth to 5 in eligible families. Head Start preschool services work with families with children ages 3 to 5. Early Head Start services work with families with children ages birth to 3, and many also serve expectant families. Many programs operate both Head Start preschool and Early Head Start services. Programs deliver child development services in center-based, home-based, or family child care settings. All Head Start programs continually work toward our mission for eligible children and families to receive high-quality services in safe and healthy settings that prepare children for school and life.

Services for Children and Families

Head Start programs are helping children get ready to succeed in school and in life through learning experiences tailored to their changing needs and abilities.

Early Learning and Development

Our programs are:

  • Building strong relationships as the foundational driver for early learning
  • Engaging families in their child’s learning and recognizing parents as a child’s first and most influential teacher
  • Implementing effective practices to promote children’s growth in five key domains: approaches to learning, social and emotional development, language and literacy, cognition, and physical development
  • Encouraging learning through play, creative expression, and guided activities with schedules and lesson plans that include the cultural and language heritage of each child and family in relevant ways
  • Creating welcoming learning environments in indoor and outdoor settings that are well-organized and safe
  • Conducting ongoing screenings and assessments to ensure each child is making progress, and collaborating with parents and community agencies when further assessment is needed
  • Supporting the full inclusion of children with disabilities and building on their strengths

Health and Wellness

Our programs are:

  • Engaging all children in both indoor and outdoor physical activity
    Serving breakfast, lunch, and snacks that are healthy and nutritious
    Ensuring children receive medical, dental, hearing, vision, and behavioral screening
  • Making sure children brush their teeth after meals and promoting oral health and hygiene
  • Helping families understand and support their child’s health and behavioral health needs
  • Assisting with mental health services for children and families, as needed
  • Building resilience to help children and families heal from traumatic experiences or events and overwhelming situations

Family Well-being

Our programs are:

  • Providing parenting support and strategies
  • Supporting parental health and links to community services during pregnancy
  • Connecting families to community and federal assistance
    Assisting families in identifying and reaching their goals and dreams, including those related to finances and economic mobility, housing, employment, and education
  • Providing a career pathway in early care and education — about 25% of program staff are former Head Start parents!

Family Engagement

Our programs are:

  • Inviting parents to share information and insights about their child
  • Celebrating the role of fathers and male caregivers through father engagement
  • Engaging parents as their child’s lifelong advocate
  • Welcoming parents to offer ways to improve children and families’ experiences in the program, including through leadership roles on the Policy Council
  • Supporting child and family transitions when the child is ready for the next step, to Head Start, kindergarten, or another early childhood program