Head Start

Head Start

The Council for Economic Opportunities’ Head Start preschool program offers a high-quality, holistic approach for children and families, coupled with a delivery system that includes national standards, monitoring, professional development and family engagement at all 14 Head Start centers. Centers are high-quality and four-or-five star certified by the State of Ohio’s Step Up to Quality program and all 11 of our Cleveland locations are PRE4CLE certified. Our Head Start program is led by renowned early childhood educator and expert Dr. Thea Wilson.


StepUp_Tagline_5stars_transparent                              UPK Logo Option 6-25-15

Early Benefits

  • Early learning positively affects brain structure
  • It fulfills curiosity, which positively impacts academic performance
  • It fosters emotional development and positive self-worth
  • It builds trust between other students, teachers and adults
  • It develops foundational skills in math and reading

Later Life Benefits

  • Early learners are more likely to go to college
  • They are more likely to get a job and have a career
  • They are more likely to own a home
  • They are more likely to realize the value of life-long learning

The learning through play starts today. The Head Start preschool program serves the entire family and instills a lifelong love of learning. Our dedicated teachers and staff look forward to working with your family to make your children’s preschool experience extraordinary.

The Council for Economic Opportunities is partnering with Cleveland Police Chief Calvin Williams for the Friendship through Reading program. Find out more about the initiative here.

Ruby is a bit camera-shy but posed for a picture anyway at Puritas Head Start.

 Health + Dental Screenings

Head Start knows that healthy children learn better, so we partner with the Case Western Reserve School of Dental Medicine to provide dental screenings for all children during the school year. We also work with University Hospitals and Cleveland Clinic to offer health screenings for parents and children at each center.

Balanced, Nutritious Meals

Proper nutrition and diet is a vital element to success in school. Head Start provides a healthy breakfast, lunch and snack daily to all of our students. The meals are served family style so teachers and students can talk with each other during the meal and share stories and experiences.

Eliana loves apples and ate this one immediately after this picture was taken at William Pat Day Head Start.
Socialization and literacy skills (and developing friendships) are a part of everyday learning.

Engagement in the Classroom

Head Start features the HighScope curriculum in all of its classrooms. This learning through play model engages young minds as they explore letters and numbers, colors and shapes and the world around them. The active learning experiences taught in the Head Start classrooms include developmentally appropriate activities to help children achieve their full potential. Children’s early education is not only about reading and writing, but social development and working with their classmates, teachers and parents. Learning positive social behavior at a young age will help the students adjust as they transition to kindergarten, elementary school and beyond.

Parental Involvement at Home

Head Start not only meets with parents while educating and preparing their children for school, but actually forms a partnership with them. Head Start operates a social services component that works directly with parents to assist them in finding educational and employment opportunities and shows them how to engage with local resources to support their family’s stability and growth. Each Head Start Center houses staff whose primary function is to work directly with parents so that their Head Start experience is as comprehensive and fulfilling as possible.

Elaine reads "How a Seed Grows" to her bright and curious daughter.
Individual little "lockers" hold bookbags, unless of course it's field trip day.

Arts + Culture Field Trips

Greater Cleveland offers a mix of arts, culture and nature experiences for preschoolers to explore. Our Head Start program partners with the Greater Cleveland Aquarium, Great Lakes Science Center, Nature Center at Shaker Lakes, PlayhouseSquare, Rainey Institute and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum to name a few.

Home Base Head Start

Let us bring the classroom to the kitchen table. Let Head Start bring our books and games and activities to your family room floor. The Home Base Head Start program delivers the Head Start curriculum to you through weekly visits by qualified Head Start Home Visitors who works with you and your child in the comfortable and familiar confines of your own home. Home Base Head Start is a great option for parents who aren’t quite ready for their child to enter a school setting or if you feel that your child would benefit more from the one-on-one nature of the program. Families also have the option for their children to visit and learn twice a month through socialization activities held at a local Head Start location. We offer both Head Start preschool and the Early Head Start infants and toddlers program options in our Home Base Program

If your child is not quite ready to meet this active and fun-loving group, Head Start offers an offsite program.
I may be different, but I am just as capable as you with some extra attention.

Teaching Children with Special Needs

Head Start is an inclusive program designed to prepare children for school. That includes children with special needs or challenges. Our program works with Local Education Agencies (LEAs) to design and implement Individual Education Plans (IEPs) to assist children with special needs in reaching their goals.

Locations Near You

Come join us at one of our 14 Head Start locations throughout Cuyahoga County and get your family started on a lifetime of learning. Our Head Start Centers are open from 7AM – 6PM (Monday – Friday) and we offer Full and Part Day program options for your family. Click here to find a program near you.

Mana and her new friend enjoy the sunshine and outdoor games at Puritas Head Start.