Head Start is a national program that promotes school readiness by enhancing the social and cognitive development of children through the provision of educational, health, nutritional, social and other services to enrolled children and families.
The Head Start program provides grants to local public and private non-profit and for-profit agencies to provide comprehensive child development services to economically disadvantaged children and families, with a special focus on helping preschoolers develop the early reading and math skills they need to be successful in school. In FY 1995, the Early Head Start program was established to serve children from birth to three years of age in recognition of the mounting evidence that the earliest years matter a great deal to children’s growth and development.
The Head Start program engages parents in their children’s learning and help them in making progress toward their educational, literacy and employment goals. Significant emphasis is placed on the involvement of parents in the administration of local Head Start programs.
1. How do I know if I am eligible for Head Start?
Head Start eligibility is based on the child’s age, where the family lives and the family income. Children must be at least three years old by September 30th and the family must live in Rockingham County. Southern New Hampshire Services also has Head Start locations in Hillsborough County for families living there. The family’s gross yearly income must be at or below the federal poverty guidelines.
2. How does Head Start calculate family income?
Program staff will need to verify the family income in the past 12 months OR the last calendar year. We can accept copies of pay stubs, tax form 1040, W-2, or a letter from an employer. Head Start staff will work with you to obtain all the needed documentation and to calculate eligibility for available program options.
3. What if I don’t work?
Head Start considers all income of the parents or guardians of the child applying for Head Start who are living in the home. This includes but is not limited to TANF, Social Security, SSI, child support and unemployment.
4. How can I apply?
Head Start staff meets with families to complete an application. Families can call the Head Start office in their area to make an appointment and find out what they need to bring with them. You can also call the main office at (603) 668-8010 ext. 6098 of 1 (800) 322-1073 ext. 6098.
5. What do I need to bring with me to apply?
Families 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. The program staff will review this with you when you call for an appointment.
6. What services does Head Start provide?
Head Start is a preschool program for children 3-5 years old. Our highly qualified staff works with children on the skills needed for kindergarten. Classes meet daily, Monday through Friday for 3 ½ -4 hours. Nutritious meals are provided. Family support staff also works with families to connect them to community resources, meet family goals and provide parent education.
7. Where is Head Start located?
SNHS Head Start has sites are located in Derry, Hampton, Portsmouth and Raymond as well as sites in Nashua, Manchester Greenville and Hillsboro in Hillsborough County. The centers serve nearby towns within each county. See our site list for more details.
Head Start Centers operate from September – June.
View the Head Start Annual Report for 2015/2016