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Head Start & Early Head Start

Our Head Start and Early Head Start Programs are designed for infants, toddlers and pre-school children to learn the habits and tools they need to succeed in school and in life beyond school.

These programs work to build your connection to your child’s development as well as providing a safe learning environment

Our Family Support Staff work with each family to connect them to community services, transportation resources, meet family goals and provide parent education as needed.

We believe in helping every child reach their true potential. All Head Start and Early Head Start children receive ongoing developmental screening and assessment to address their ongoing medical, dental, nutritional, emotional and social needs. Individualized services are also provided to meet the needs of children with disabilities. Enrolled center-based children are provided nutritious meals and snacks.

These free and federally funded programs include two different program types: Head Start for children between three to five years old and Early Head Start for children six weeks to three years old.

 

Head Start

Head Start is a pre-school child development program for children three to five years old designed to help children and their families prepare the skills needed for kindergarten. This program involves the whole family in a multifaceted approach to early education with a focus on school readiness through center attendance and home visits.

Classes meet daily Monday through Friday for 3.5-6 hours depending on location with extended day services available at some sites for families who work or attend school full time. Head Start has locations in Derry, Greenville, Hillsborough, Manchester, Nashua, Portsmouth, Raymond and Seabrook.

Head Start with Wrap-Around Childcare

For parents in need of full-day care, we have three centers that provide low-cost wrap-around childcare in addition to Head Start Services to help support families with self-sufficiency goals.

These centers are open an average of ten hours per day and are staffed with dedicated professionals with backgrounds in early education, family services, nutrition, physical and mental health. Each center works with the State Scholarship system to provide assistance for families who meet the guidelines.

Centers offering wrap-around childcare are located in Manchester, Nashua and Hillsborough.

 

Early Head Start

Early Head Start is a comprehensive child development program designed for infants and toddlers with locations in Manchester and Nashua. We partner with families to provide intensive developmental education and family support services to nurture the relationship between parent and child.

Early Head Start Services are available in two modalities: Center Based and Home Based.

Center Based

Early Head Start Center Based Services are available for children aged six weeks to three years and are ideal for families who are working or attending school full time and in need of full-day, year-round care and developmental support for their child. With a 1:4 teacher to child ratio, we are able to focus on each child’s needs and tailor their experience.

Diapers, wipes and formula are all provided while your child is in our care. Center Based care accepts recipients of the NH Child Care Development Fund Scholarship.

Home Based

Early Head Start Home Based Services are available to families from birth to three years to provide developmental support and promote healthy environments at home. Families participate in a weekly home visit with a focus on parental participation for continued success.

There are also regular opportunities for group social activities designed to enhance child development and build social skills through our local Early Head Start Centers in Manchester and Nashua.

Eligibility

*Please note you may meet eligibility guidelines for Head Start or Early Head Start in other ways than below. If you are looking to enroll a child, please contact us to discuss your specific situation.

How to Apply

All interested applicants and questions can be directed to headstart@snhs.org or by phone at (603) 668-8010 ext. 6098.

Due to COVID-19, we are currently asking families to not go into local centers for information or applications.

Resources

Head Start & Early Head Start FAQs

We consider all income of the parents or guardians of the child applying for Head Start who are living in the home, including but not limited to TANF, Social Security, SSI, child support and unemployment. We will work with you to obtain the documentation needed to verify family income for the past 12 months OR the last calendar year. We accept copies of pay stubs, tax forms (1040 or W-2), or a letter from an employer.

Head Start/Early Head Start does enroll children whose families are over the income guidelines or have special circumstances such as a diagnosed disability or high family need. We encourage you to contact us to discuss your specific situation even if you do not meet the eligibility guidelines listed.

First, you will need to set up an appointment to find out what information you will need to apply. Families will need to bring proof of the child’s date of birth and any income received by the parents or guardians of the child applying for Head Start who are living in the home. Together with one of our Head Start team members, we will complete your application and submit it for review and approval.

Once approved, families will receive a welcome letter with information about starting in the program and any necessary health requirements as well as contact information in case you have any additional questions.

Prior to the school year start date, the participant is contacted by classroom staff to schedule an initial home visit to complete all necessary enrollment paperwork. At the same time the staff member is able to start the process of building a relationship with the child and family to help plan for the child’s transition into the program.