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What is Head Start?

Head Start is a federal program authorized by the Improving Head Start for School Readiness Act of 2007.

Head Start and Early Head Start programs in local communities support the mental, social, and emotional development of children from birth to age 5. In addition to education services, programs provide children and their families with health, nutrition, social, and other services. Head Start services are responsive to each child and family's ethnic, cultural, and linguistic heritage.

Head Start encourages the role of parents as their child's first and most important teachers. Programs build relationships with families that support positive parent-child relationships, family well-being, and connections to peers and community. Head Start began as a program for preschoolers. Three- and 4-year-olds made up over 80 percent of the children served by Head Start last year.

Early Head Start serves pregnant women, infants, and toddlers. Early Head Start programs are available to the family until the child turns 3 years old and is ready to transition into Head Start or another pre-K program. Early Head Start helps families care for their infants and toddlers through early, continuous, intensive, and comprehensive services.

More information is at the Office of Head Start website

What is MHSA?

The Maryland Head Start Association (MHSA) is a 501c3 nonprofit organization that seeks to assist Head Start programs through education and training opportunities; advocating on behalf of Head Start children and families across the state of Maryland; and by educating the community at large on the developmental needs of low-income children and families.


MHSA is an association that includes local Head Start programs, community partners and friends. As Association members, individuals and organizations have an opportunity to participate in children's advocacy on a local, regional and national level.

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