Head Start began in 1965. The program is designed to
foster healthy development in low-income children. Programs
deliver a range of services, responsive and appropriate to
each child’s and each family’s heritage and experience that
encompass all aspects of a child’s development and
learning. Every program must meet the needs of the federal
Head Start Performance Standards and other applicable
It is the goal of Head Start to ensure
that children begin school ready to learn. Activities are
directed toward the skill and knowledge domains and domain
Fully incorporating children with
disabilities is a required element of the Head Start
program. This initiative is beneficial to all involved,
children with and without disabilities, parents and staff.
Family and community partnerships recognize the vital
contributions made by parents and community members. Both
groups are involved in the operation, governance and the
evaluation of the Head Start program. In the area of program
management and operation, there is strong focus on
delivering high-quality child development services to
children for low- income families.
To provide a unified voice that represents all paid members
and agencies. IHSA meets the needs of its members by
providing advocacy, training and leadership development, and
by promoting collaboration and communication. IHSA is
committed to fostering professionalism within the
organization and accountability to members. IHSA promotes
proactive leadership and respect for diversity.
About Early Head Start
With the re-authorization of the Head Start program in
1994, Congress established a new program for low-income
families with infant, toddlers and pregnant women which is
called Early Head Start.
Early Head Start programs provide early, individualized
child development and parent education services to
low-income families. It enables parent to be better
caregivers and teachers to their children and helps them met
their own goals, including economic independence.
There is an appropriate mix of home visits, experiences
at the Early Head Start centers and other settings such as
family or center-based child care.
The program provides early learning opportunities for
infant and toddles with or with out disabilities to grow and
developed in a nurturing and inclusive setting. Early
Head Start connects families with other service providers at
the local level to ensure that a comprehensive array of
health, nutrition and other services are provided to the
Early Head Start programs coordinate with local Head
Start and other development programs in order to ensure
continuity for these children and their families.