Gateway Head Start/EHS offers a school readiness program for children ages 0-5 at locations throughout Atlantic, Cape May, Cumberland,Gloucester,Salemand Mercer counties in New Jersey, as well as the Germantown-Lehigh section of Philadelphia, Pa. Transportation is available at many sites. Services may be free to eligible families. Refer to the list below for locations and ages served.
Select your local center on the left to view its activity calendar!
Head Start is a federal program that promotes the school readiness of children ages birth to five from low-income families by enhancing their cognitive, social, and emotional development.
Head Start programs provide a learning environment that supports children's growth in the following domains:
language and literacy;
cognition and general knowledge;
physical development and health;
social and emotional development; and
approaches to learning.
Head Start programs provide comprehensive services to enrolled children and their families, which include health, nutrition, social, and other services determined to be necessary by family needs assessments, in addition to education and cognitive development services. Head Start services are designed to be responsive to each child and family's ethnic, cultural, and linguistic heritage.
Head Start emphasizes the role of parents as their child's first and most important teacher. Head Start programs build relationships with families that support:
family well-being and positive parent-child relationships;
families as learners and lifelong educators;
family engagement in transitions;
family connections to peers and community; and
families as advocates and leaders.
Head Start Services
Head Start serves preschool-age children and their families. Many Head Start programs also provideEarly Head Start, which serves infants, toddlers, pregnant women and their families who have incomes below the federal poverty level.
Head Start programs offer a variety of service models, depending on the needs of the local community. Programs may be based in:
centers or schools that children attend for part-day or full-day services;
family child care homes; and/or
children's own homes, where a staff person visits once a week to provide services to the child and family. Children and families who receive home-based services gather periodically with other enrolled families for a group learning experience facilitated by Head Start staff.
Over a million children are served by Head Start programs every year, including children in every U.S. state and territory and in American Indian and Alaska Native communities. Since 1965, more than 30 million low-income children and their families have received these comprehensive services to increase their school readiness.
What is Early Head Start?
Early Head Start (EHS) is a federally funded community-based program for low-income families with infants and toddlers and pregnant women. Its mission is simple:
· to promote healthy prenatal outcomes for pregnant women,
· to enhance the development of very young children, and
· to promote healthy family functioning.
EHS evolved out of Head Start's long history of providing services to infants and toddlers through Parent Child Centers, Comprehensive Child Development Centers (CCDPs) and Migrant Head Start programs. Recent advances in the field of infant development make this an especially exciting time to have Head Start formally expand its family to include the provision of Early Head Start services.
In 1994, the Secretary of Health and Human Services formed an Advisory Committee on Services for Families with Infants and Toddlers to design EHS. EHS evolved out of Head Start's long history of providing services to infants and toddlers through Parent and Child Centers, Comprehensive Child Development Centers (CCDPs), Migrant and Seasonal Head Start programs, and other early child development and family support efforts serving families with very young children. Recent advances in the field of infant development make EHS services so important.