In 1964, the Federal Government created a panel of child development experts to design a program to help communities overcome the barriers of young children living in poverty. The findings of that panel report became the blueprint for Project Head Start.
Project Head Start, launched as an eight-week summer program by the Office of Economic Opportunity in 1965, was designed to help break the cycle of poverty by providing preschool children of low-income families with a comprehensive program to meet their emotional, social, health, nutritional, and psychological needs. Recruiting children age three to school entry age, Head Start was enthusiastically received by education, child development specialists, community leaders and parent across the nation.
In 1969, Head Start was transferred from the Office of Economic Opportunity to the Office of Child Development in the US Department of Health, Education and Welfare, and has now become a program within the Administration on Children, Youth and Families in the Department of Health and Human Services. A well established, though still an innovative program, Head Start has had a strong impact on communities and early childhood programs across the country.
Head Start programs are operated by over 1500 community-based organizations. Grantees include school districts, universities, community health centers, tribal governments, Alaska Native Corporation, city and county governments, Community Action Agencies, and other profit and nonprofit organizations.
As of 2013, more than 31 million preschool aged children have participated in Head Start. The $7.2+ billion dollar budget for 2013 provided services to more than 903,000 children, 48% of whom were four years old or older and 52% three years old or younger.
The two squares represent early childhood by suggesting building blocks.
The arrangement of the blocks represent stairs by which this can be accomplished.
The vertical strips represent the child and parent.
The arrow pointing upward represents the direction out of poverty and on to the future.
The colors, red, white and blue represent the United States and the many opportunities it provides for its citizens.