Head Start Program
Head Start programs prepare America’s most vulnerable young children to succeed in school and in life beyond school. To achieve this, Head Start programs deliver services to children and families in core areas of early learning, health, and family well-being while engaging parents as partners every step of the way. Head Start achieves this through an emphasis in early childhood development education, family and community partnerships, and health services.
Early Childhood Development and Education
A key tenet of early childhood development and education is to provide all children with a safe, nurturing, engaging, enjoyable, and secure learning environment, in order to help them gain the awareness, skills, and confidence necessary to succeed in their present environment and to deal with later responsibilities in school and in life. Each child is treated as an individual in an inclusive community that values, respects, and responds to diversity. The varied experiences provided by the Head Start program support the full continuum of children’s growth and development, from physical to social, emotional to cognitive.
Head Start Locations
Auburndale Central Elementary
Crystal Lake Elementary
Eagle Lake Elementary
Gibbons Street PK Center
Haines City Head Start
Jesse Keen Elementary
McLaughlin Middle School
Oscar J Pope Elementary
Sleepy Hill Elementary
Spook Hill Elementary
Winter Haven Center Head Start
For address information regarding each school, visit our School Listings page.
Family and Community Partnerships
Head Start offers parents opportunities and the support necessary for their own personal growth, so that they can identify their strengths, needs and interests, find solutions to problems they face, and nurture the development of their children within the context of their family and culture. The building of trusting, collaborative relationships between parents and Head Start staff allows them to share with and learn from one another.
Head Start serves families within the context of the community and recognizes that many other agencies and groups work with the same families. The objective of our community partnerships is to ensure that agencies collaborate with their partners in the community in order to provide the highest level of service to children and families, foster the development of a continuum of family-centered services, and advocate for a community that shares the responsibility for the healthy development of children and families of all cultures.
Comprehensive Health Services
Head Start is committed to a philosophy of wellness that embraces a comprehensive vision of healthy children, families, and staff. The objective of Head Start’s child health and development services is to ensure that, through collaboration among families, staff, and health professionals, children’s health and developmental concerns are identified, and children and families are linked to an ongoing source of continuous, accessible care to meet their basic health needs. Head Start promotes and provides the following:
Healthy nutrition and physical activity: Head Start is actively involved in the nation’s efforts to decrease the rate of children classified as overweight or obese. Through activities that promote nutrition and physical activity, Head Start programs make a huge impact on the healthy development of children and families.
Developmental and behavioral services: Head Start programs promote the lifelong health of children and adults in their communities. The programs help families find medical homes, stay current on all of their health needs, and receive the appropriate mental health services.
Child safety and injury prevention: Identifying risks and preventing injury are fundamental to Head Start’s mission. Programs strive to create safe and secure places for children to learn.
Health literacy: Working with families and staff to build their health skills and knowledge is a core part of the work of each Head Start program. When adults understand and model strong health practices, children are more likely to embrace them as well.
Oral health: Head Start recognizes the critical nature of oral health for children’s optimal development. Each program works with families and local oral health professionals to ensure that all children have dental homes that offer regular care and follow-up treatment.
Healthy environments: The children and families served by Head Start programs may be more likely to live in places where they are exposed to smoking and other air pollutants and toxins. It is important that staff support families in building healthy environments.
Head Start Program Program Application Process
STEP 1: Complete the Head Start application
Answer all questions. Blank lines may lead to a delay in processing your application.
STEP 2: Gather the required documentation as listed on the Head Start application, top right-hand corner
STEP 3: Call the Family Service Office at your chosen site to make an appointment to submit your paperwork
Contact the Family Services Office at your chosen Head Start location to make an appointment to submit your application and documentation. At the face-to-face appointment, you will learn more about Head Start and your paperwork will be reviewed. Contact numbers and addresses are shown below.
Please allow 48 hours for your contact person to respond to your phone call.
The PCPS Head Start program locations for the school year are listed by area. Student spaces per site are limited. Sites are subject to change every school year.
Need more information? Please call the Head Start Administrative office at (863) 648-3051 for assistance.