NYC Resources 311 Office of the Mayor
NYC Administration for Children's Services: The City's child welfare agency, dedicated to protecting children and strengthening families

Child Care & Head Start

Head Start


Head Start offers educational programs for children age 3 to 5, and a wide variety of opportunities and support services for their families. Since 1965, we’ve joined with millions of low-income parents, from hundreds of different backgrounds, to help children succeed in school, and succeed in life. The Administration for Children’s Services (ACS) sponsors more than 250 Head Start centers in neighborhoods throughout New York City. Every one of them offers a safe, caring environment where both children and parents come to learn and grow and achieve. And every Head Start program is absolutely free.

Interested families can call 212-232-0966 for details regarding Head Start and how to find centers in their neighborhoods.

Find a Head Start Center Near You


Education: Head Start is the Right Start

When children love learning, everything else falls into place. Every day at Head Start children enjoy all kinds of activities and games designed to teach everything from numbers and letters to sharing and getting along with others. They learn to love books and get a good foundation for reading. They learn about nature and science through fun, hands-on activities. They paint and draw, dress up and play music all to encourage the special curiosity, imagination and joy of childhood. And that’s just the beginning. All Head Start children play in parks and playgrounds, and go on field trips, both in the local community and throughout New York City.

All programs are multilingual and include children and families from different ethnic and cultural backgrounds. At Head Start, diversity is celebrated both in and out of the classroom, and even at mealtimes with a variety of traditional foods.

Every day Head Start children eat delicious, nutritious meals that are prepared right in the local Head Start center. When it’s time to move on, Head Start children leave with the confidence and skills they need to succeed in kindergarten, first grade and beyond.

Health and Head Start

Head Start helps children and families access high quality, free health services in their own communities. Children are screened by a professional within the first 45 days, so any issues can be addressed quickly. Head Start families have year-round access to regular medical care, including check-ups, dental care and mental health services. And every day at the Head Start center, children learn about healthy living. They learn about good nutrition doing fun classroom cooking activities. They are taught to wash their hands before meals and brush their teeth every day, so that these and other healthy habits become practice at an early age. At all times, staff help families find answers to healthcare questions that come up and get medical attention when they need it.

Children with Disabilities

Children with disabilities are a welcome part of every Head Start program. We understand that every child has unique strengths and unique needs. At Head Start, parents, teachers and specialists all work together to develop a unique program for each child—both in the classroom and at home. Children with disabilities are included in the regular activities, and play and learn right along with all the other children. Head Start has the resources to help many children with disabilities, whether the disabilities are physical, developmental or behavioral. Year after year, children with disabilities make up more than 10% of Head Start’s total enrollment. That’s because year after year Head Start is 100% committed to their success.

Parents: Get a New Start with Head Start

A new job…A high school degree…A better place to live…For adults, it all can start at Head Start. With job training, adult education classes, housing assistance and more, Head Start offers many opportunities for adults looking for something better. Every family works with one Head Start Family Worker who helps all members of the family identify goals, and figure out what to do to accomplish them. All centers even have a separate area where adults can come to learn, talk or just meet others.

Head Start also has programs that address many of the complex issues facing families today. Many Head Start centers reach out to grandparents and fathers (and father figures) in special ways. With so many ways to help adults both as parents and as individuals, Head Start just might be a new beginning.

  • Adult Education
  • GED Programs
  • Computer Training
  • English Language Classes
  • Job Training
  • Job Referrals
  • Health Services
  • Cooking and
  • Nutrition Workshops
  • Housing Assistance

Head Start: A Partnership with Parents

From the beginning, Head Start has been run as a partnership between staff and families. In every Head Start program, parents and other adult family members share in making many of the important decisions. Parents even make up a majority of the Citywide Policy Council that shares responsibility for Head Start programs throughout the five boroughs.

Parents also serve as vital connections to the community. They may assist in recruiting new families, or become spokespeople for Head Start. Some work with outreach programs, others participate in support groups. In fact, the reason Head Start does so much for families is that families do so much for Head Start.

Staff: The Heart of Head Start

In the middle of it all is the Head Start staff: professional, personable, experienced, dedicated and excited to help families take advantage of all Head Start has to offer.

Right from the beginning—from the first phone call, from the first meeting—it is clear that the incredible people who work at Head Start are incredibly committed to what they do.

Head Start staff members often live right in the community, and have been with Head Start for years. In fact, many staff members started out as Head Start parents. Some even started as Head Start children.

Teachers, family workers, volunteers, administrators, health professionals, cooks and custodians—everyone at Head Start is here to do whatever it takes to help Head Start families succeed.

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