About Head Start

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    Head Start is an early childhood development program, started in 1965 to provide comprehensive developmental services for America's low-income, preschool children ages 3 to 5. Giving a boost to children's education and helping strengthen the skills of parents to better nurture and provide for their children, Head Start is making a significant difference in the lives of children and families in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the U.S. territories.

    A variety of federal and state-funded programs (Head Start, Voluntary Pre-Kindergarten) are available to address the ever-changing needs of this community's youngest and most impressionable residents.

    As members of the Professional Early Intervention team, we dedicate our efforts to:

    • recognizing and supporting parents as their child's first and most important educator;
    • developing a program that focuses on ensuring readiness for school supporting the empowerment and improved quality of life of each program participant.
    • Services are specifically designed to address the needs of young children from economically disadvantaged families, children with disabilities, and children and families who are experiencing hardships that may affect the child's development.

    The shared goals of the Early Intervention Services Program are to enhance readiness for school, increase parent involvement, identify special needs prior to kindergarten enrollment, facilitate the transition to kindergarten, and to promote family empowerment.

    Early Childhood and Family Support Services are offered to families in the Alachua County area.

    Children between the ages of three and five and their families are provided comprehensive family support and developmentally-appropriate services in a variety of early childhood settings where elementary school principals serve as on-site administrators and Teacher Specialist provide Early Childhood and administrative support and oversight at each cluster site.


    Fearnside Family Services Center (Head Start Administrative Office) 
    8am-5pm Monday-Friday 

    Head Start School Hours of Operation
    Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday 7:30am-2:00pm; Wednesday 7:30am- 2:30pm. VPK hours are 7:30am - 10:30am daily. 

Apply Now

  • Head Start is NOW accepting applications for both the 2018-2019 & 2019-2020 school years. 
    Head Start now offers an online application process: 
    Step 1: Complete the Online Application (see link to the right) 
    Step 2: Complete Application Forms (see link to the right)
    Step 3: Schedule an eligibility interview with Head Start staff by calling 352-955-6875. 

    The program enrolls children who are 3 or 4 years old. 

    • For the 2018-2019 school year, children must be 3 or 4 by Sept. 1, 2018 
    • For the 2019-2020 school year, children must be 3 or 4 by Sept. 1, 2019

    And are: 

    • From low-income households,
    • Homeless, 
    • In Foster Care, or 
    • Have Diagnosed Disability

    Head Start has 12 locations in Alachua County including Archer, CHILD Center, Duval, Fearnside, High Springs, Irby, Lake Forest, Newberry, Rawlings, Shell, Terwilliger, and Wiles.

    Please contact us at 352-955-6875 to schedule an appointment. Walk-ins are accepted every Tuesday between 8:00 am to 3:00 pm at the Fearnside Family Services Center.

    Se hablan Español. 

Head Start Registration Documents

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