The Head Start Advantage
Studies have shown that there is a substantial achievement gap as early as kindergarten between children who live in poverty and those who do not. Head Start aims to reduce that gap by providing low-income children with enrichment and education and by providing parents with resources pertaining to parenting, housing, employment, healthcare, and a variety of other topics.
The original Head Start program, founded in 1965, works with preschool-age children between three and five years old and their families. The newer Early Head Start program, founded during Head Start's 1994 reauthorization, works with children less than three years old and their families, and also with pregnant women.
The federal government provides eighty percent of the funding for these programs directly to local grantees. The remaining twenty percent must come from in-kind contributions from parents, volunteers, and community members, which may be in the form of monetary contributions, donations of goods or services, or volunteer hours.