Program Description

Head Start is a comprehensive child development program that has been successfully serving low-income children and their families for over forty years. It is a child-focused program with an overall goal of increasing school readiness and socialization for young children three to five years old. This is accomplished by providing a rich preschool environment, involving and supporting the family, and connecting with the community. Head Start is administered by the Administration for Children and Families, an agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Since the early 1970’s, Alameda Head Start has been serving preschool aged children and their families in the City of Alameda. The program is funded for 222 children with classrooms located throughout the community from the West End to Central Alameda.  The program offers a variety of classroom schedules and options, based on the child’s age and the needs of the family. All program options offer the same education, health and family support services.  They include part day, full day, extended day, a home-based program and a summer kindergarten preparation classroom. 

Services Provided

Alameda Head Start offers a variety of supportive services to every child and their family. In addition, Head Start staff members speak many languages, and translation is offered for all program services, which are listed below:

  1. Education: Each classroom provides a safe and engaging learning environment that supports a young child’s physical, cognitive, social and emotional growth and development. Children’s individual interests, languages, cultural backgrounds and learning styles are taken into account. Parent/Teacher conferences and other meetings are scheduled throughout the year.
  2. Special Education Services: Alameda Head Start welcomes children with disabilities, who are given enrollment priority.  Alameda Head Start works with the local school district, Alameda Unified, to refer, coordinate and provide special education services for children with disabilities attending Head Start.
  3. Family Services: Each family is assigned a Family Advocate who will help the family identify strengths, set goals, define needed services, supports, and social services referrals. The family and the Family Advocate work together in a partnership to help the family progress toward achieving and attaining goals and services which support positive development of the child in the home.
  4. Family Involvement: Families are involved in many aspects of the program including individualized family services, special events, parent trainings, and volunteering. This participation may include serving on a variety of committees such as the parent board known as the Policy Council.
  5. Mental Health: Alameda Head Start provides mental wellness activities in the classroom and works with families around their child’s mental health and behavior. Play therapy is available for families upon request and mental health interns work in some of the classrooms.
  6. Health: Family Advocates assist families in getting health services for their children as needed.  Children are required to have current vaccinations and physical and dental exams, as well as hearing and vision screenings.
  7. Nutrition: Families and the Family Advocate discuss their child’s eating habits and nutrition in general. Children receive nutritious meals and snacks, provided by the California Department of Education, Nutrition Services Division.

Eligibility

Alameda Head Start, a program of Alameda Family Services, offers a free child development program for families with age eligible children residing or going to school in the city of Alameda. Because the determination of income eligibility is a complex process, please contact the enrollment office to discuss your interest in enrolling your child in Head Start at 510-629-6350.

Intake Procedure

Application information and application in a PDF file.

Fees

None: No cost services to qualified families

Links

Head Start Bureau -  http://www2.acf.dhhs.gov/programs/hsb/
National Head Start Association - http://www.nhsa.org/
National Association for the Education of Young Children - http://www.naeyc.org/
Child Care and Adult Food Program - http://www.cacfp.org/

Funding Sources

Administration for Children and Families, Department of Health and Human Services,  California Department of Education, Rotary Club of Alameda, Kiwanis Club of Alameda, Soroptomist Club, Alameda Welfare Council, Donations