Head Start Program Standards

Target Group

Head Start is intended to reach children from birth to six years (and their families). While programs may develop in stages, eventually the project should reach the full 0–6 year age range.


Head Start funds are meant to be integrated with existing services. Therefore it is important to collaborate with existing community programs, target Head Start funds to address gap areas, and build on what is already working well.


Reaching out to children and families is central to Head Start philosophy. Whatever model of delivery is used, ideally the program should also offer home visiting and outreach programming to families who are not accessing centre-based services.


Head Start projects should be flexible and responsive to community needs. All Head Start sites should work from their own unique vision, continually evaluating and re-evaluating community needs, asking, “Is this program delivery model working for us?” “Is it structured in a way that best meets our needs?” Project renewal time is a built-in opportunity for reflection and re-evaluation.