Due to COVID-19 health concerns, some Head Start sites remain closed.
During this closure, staff will continue to engage families and to deliver remote services where possible. See distance learning locations below.
Head Start offers center-based and home-based services to families who meet federal low-income guidelines. Find out more here.
Enroll in Head Start
Find out what you need in order to apply / refer yourself or families you know to the Head Start program.
Head Start provides a free breakfast or free afternoon snack and lunch at no charge. Learn more about the meal program here.
Head Start has many locations. Click here to find the center nearest to you.
What We Do
Head Start is a NO COST preschool program primarily servicing low income families. Children must be at least three years old or turning three by September 1st. Head Start provides comprehensive services including education, social, emotional, health, nutritional, family support and disability services to children and families. Head Start is committed to building strong children and families.
Head Start services are available in two options: center-based and home-based. Center-based services offer part-day (3.5 hours, 6 hours, or 7.5 hours) or full-day options (11 hours) that vary by location. In the home-based option, a home-based educator visits the home for 1.5 hours per week offering the family school readiness activities. Children have the opportunity to have a group socialization experience twice a month in the home-based option.
Head Start Stories
Fresno EOC Head Start History
Fresno Economic Opportunities Commission (Fresno EOC) Head Start Preschool has successfully provided comprehensive child development services for low-income preschool children and their families since 1965. Services include education, nutrition, health, medical, dental, parental involvement and social services. Expansion of services to children ages 0-3 was implemented in 1996 through the Early Head Start Program. Over 94,899 Head Start Preschool children and 4,736 Early Head Start children and their families have received service from Fresno EOC since the program began in 1965.
The purpose of Fresno EOC Head Start is to promote the school readiness of low-income children by enhancing their cognitive, social, and emotional development in two ways:
1. The learning environment will support children’s growth in language, literacy, mathematics, science, creative arts, physical skills, emotional function, and approaches to learning; and
2. Each family will be provided with health, educational, nutritional, social, and other services when necessary based on the family’s needs assessments.
Fresno EOC Head Start Preschool currently serves approximately 2,750 Head Start and 308 Early Head Start children throughout Fresno County in over 34 centers and 17 home-based areas.
Annual Reports are available upon request.
Applications are accepted for children who will be three years of age on or before September 1st for the kindergarten enrollment age.
Head Start offers no-cost services to families who meet federal low-income guidelines. Families who receive public assistance or other benefits may also be eligible. Families with income above federal poverty guidelines are also encouraged to apply for Head Start.
Head Start gives priority to families based on the age of child and household income. Every effort will be made to ensure children who have a certifiable disability is enrolled in order to meet the mandated 10% disability requirement.
Early Head Start provides services for pregnant women, babies, and toddlers up to three years old.
How Do I Apply?
Fill out and submit the online form first. Then visit or call your neighborhood Head Start site today to make an appointment with Family Services or home-based staff. Bring the following to the appointment:
- Your child’s birth certificate or proof of birth
- Household income verification (this could be a 1040, W-2, or a notice of action from TANF, SSI or CalWorks)
- Your child’s Immunization Record
The Head Start Application will need to be completed by Head Start staff. The Head Start Application will need to be signed by a Parent or Legal Guardian; application cannot be signed by any other family member.
Head Start provides a free breakfast (for children attending in the morning) or free afternoon snack and lunch at no charge to parents by utilizing the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP).
Head Start Locations
Pinedale Elementary School
Head Start Home-Based Offices
Home-Based Satellite Office
- Clovis HB
- Highway City HB
Home-Based Satellite Office
- Kings Canyon HB
- Southeast County HB
frequently asked questions
APPLYING FOR HEAD START
WHAT IS HEAD START?
Head Start provides comprehensive educational, emotional, social, health, and nutritional services for preschool-aged children (3-5 yrs.) and their families. Children are provided with a variety of age-appropriate early childhood education/learning experiences. They participate in indoor and outdoor play and are encouraged to express their feelings. Meals are served to every child along with a snack when they arrive. Parent involvement is encouraged by parents volunteering in the classroom, attending local parent meetings at each center and making decisions regarding their child’s education. Families are provided with assistance and referrals to various agencies and resources that may be needed.
This institution is an equal opportunity provider
HOW DID HEAD START BEGIN?
In January of 1964, President Lyndon B. Johnson declared The War on Poverty in his State of the Union speech. Shortly thereafter, Sargent Shriver took the lead in assembling a panel of experts to develop a comprehensive child development program that would help communities meet the needs of disadvantaged preschool children.
Part of the government’s thinking on poverty was influenced by new research on the effects of poverty, as well as on the impact of education. This research indicated an obligation to help disadvantaged groups, compensating for inequality in social or economic conditions.
Head Start was designed to help break the cycle of poverty, providing preschool children of low-income families with a comprehensive program to meet their emotional, social, health, nutritional and psychological needs.
A key tenet of the program established that it be culturally responsive to the communities served, and that the communities have an investment in its success through the contribution of volunteer hours and other donations as nonfederal share.
For more information on the history of Head Start, please visit: http://eclkc.ohs.acf.hhs.gov/hslc/hs/about/history
HOW DO I REGISTER MY CHILD?
Applicants must meet federal poverty guidelines. We are federally mandated to serve low-income children and their families. Head Start has 34 centers and 17 home-based areas that we serve. These are listed on our website, along with contact information and addresses.
To begin the registration process for your child, please bring your child’s birth certificate, proof of income, and immunization record to the center nearest to you. We offer education, health, nutrition, disability, and family support services. Transportation is available at designated locations. Call (559) 263-1527 for more information. We take applications year-round. Office hours are from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday – Friday.
WHAT DO I NEED TO REGISTER MY CHILD?
- Child’s Birth Certificate
- Proof of Income (1040 Income Tax Form, W-2’s, TANF)
- Immunization Record
WHAT IS A REFERRAL?
A referral is information taken on the child and the family to begin the registration process
DOES A REFERRAL PUT MY CHILD ON A WAIT LIST? OR IS THAT AN APPLICATION?
No, it does not put your child on a wait list or automatically enroll your child. It is used to begin the process of applying to Head Start.
HOW LONG AFTER I REGISTER WILL MY CHILD BE ABLE TO GET INTO HEAD START?
Once the application is complete, it depends on the waiting list at the center. The number of vacancies varies at each Head Start center.
WHAT WOULD BE MY CHILD’S ROUTINE IN A HEAD START PROGRAM?
Most children who enroll in Head Start attend a half-day center-based program. However, some communities may operate a full-day program or provide Head Start services through a home-based setting. In a home-based program, staff called Home-Based Educators teach parents how to provide learning experiences for their own children.
Some Center-Based programs offer children transportation to and from home.
Classroom time includes many different activities. Some teachers begin the day by asking the children to sit in a circle. This encourages the children to talk about an idea or experience they want to share with others. In some centers, the children plan their activities. They may choose art, playing with blocks or table toys, science activities, dancing to music, looking at books, or pretend housekeeping. Children can switch activities if they prefer another challenge.
Each day, they have time to work in a small group with other children and to play outdoors on safe playground equipment.
At mealtime, children receive a nutritious meal and brush their teeth. All the children are taught to wash their hands before meals and are encouraged to develop good personal and health habits.
WHAT IS SCHOOL READINESS?
Head Start defines school readiness as children possessing the skills, knowledge, and attitudes necessary for success in school and for later learning and life. The Head Start Approach to School Readiness means that children are ready for school, families are ready to support their children’s learning, and schools are ready for children. Head Start is a leader in the early childhood field with a strong, clear, and comprehensive focus on all aspects of healthy development, including physical, cognitive, and social and emotional development, all of which are essential to children getting ready for school.
WHAT IS HEALTH SERVICES?
The responsibility of Health Services is to ensure that all children receive comprehensive health services (medical and dental) as required in the Performance Standards. Detailed medical histories and health records are kept. Early detection of health issues and prevention are primary objectives. Teachers are instructed in CPR and First Aid in the event that health staff is not present at the site. The health staff conduct programs of health education directed to the children, staff, and parents. Referrals are made when resources are available and needed. A Health Services Advisory Committee (HSAC) composed of staff, community professionals and parents meet twice a year and functions in an advisory and planning capacity to meet the health and nutrition services of the program.
MY CHILD HAS SPEECH PROBLEMS, WHAT DO I DO?
DO YOU HAVE A COPY OF MY CHILD’S DENTAL AND IMMUNIZATION RECORDS? I NEED IT FOR KINDERGARTEN.
The most current information regarding your child’s dental and immunization records would be with your doctor and dentist. We can fax your child’s dental and immunization records to your child’s new school, provided we have an accurate fax number.
DOES HEAD START CHARGE FOR THE MEALS SERVED TO CHILDREN?
No. Head Start provides a breakfast (for children attending in the morning) or afternoon snack and lunch at no charge to parents by utilizing the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP).
IF MY CHILD HAS A FOOD ALLERGY, SENSITIVITY OR REQUIRES A MEDICAL ACCOMMODATION, WILL I HAVE TO BRING HIS MEAL?
Because Head Start is a sponsor of the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP), we will work with each parent to ensure every child enrolled in the program is provided for nutritionally. Parents will need to complete some paperwork and/or have their pediatrician complete a form. Upon receipt of the necessary documents, our Registered Dietitian and highly trained staff will alter or craft a menu specific to your child’s needs.
IF I HAVE QUESTIONS ABOUT THE MENU, FEEDING MY CHILD OR FAMILY OR A GENERAL NUTRITION QUESTIONS, IS THERE ANYONE WHO COULD SPEAK TO ME ABOUT MY CONCERNS?
Our Registered Dietitian and Nutrition Services staff are always available to answer your questions about the food children are served, the menu, and sound nutrition practices.
MY CHILD SEEMS BEHIND OTHERS HIS/HER AGE. WHAT CAN I DO?
Always check with your child’s doctor first, to see if there is a health or physical problem. For example, hearing problems can cause delayed speech or language because a child cannot hear all the sounds properly. The next step is to contact your local school district and ask about a screening to see if your child qualifies for any special education services, such as speech therapy or services from a Hearing or Vision Impairment specialist. School districts offer a variety of services/programs for students with disabilities from ages 0-22, and all services are free.
WHAT ARE THE ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS?
Head Start is a federally-funded program designed to provide services to low-income families who are at or below the federal poverty guidelines. Special consideration is given to foster children, homeless families, and others in specific circumstances. Priority status is given to children who are 4 years old by September 1 of that program year and to children with disabilities who have a certified IEP.
HOW DO I ENROLL MY CHILD IN HEAD START?
You should complete an application for your child as early as possible in the spring for the best chance for fall enrollment, although applications are taken any time of year. Your child must be 3 years old by September 1st to qualify for that program year. You may complete an application at your nearest Head Start center or our Head Start Central Office, located at 1920 Mariposa Street, #200, call (559) 263-1200. You will need to bring the following documents: Proof of Income (1040 Income Tax Form, W-2’s, TANF), Proof of Age (birth certificate, hospital medical record) and immunization record. If your child already has an IEP (Individual Education Plan) or IFSP (IndividualizedFamily Service Plan) from your local school district, bring that in too. Head Start gives priority enrollment points for children with certified IEPs.
WHAT IF MY CHILD USES A WALKER OR WHEELCHAIR, OR HAS SERIOUS HEALTH PROBLEMS?
Head Start accepts children regardless of the type and severity of the disability. Most Head Start sites are ADA accessible and at certain locations that offer bus transportation, the buses can accommodate wheelchairs. Head Start staff work together with medical and educational professionals in the community to make sure children’s needs are met.
THERE IS NO HEAD START CENTER NEARBY. IS THERE ANOTHER PRESCHOOL OPTION AVAILABLE?
Head Start Home-Based offers all the services (education, health, nutrition, family services, parent engagement) just as in center-based programs. Home-Based Educators provide in-home services to families weekly and provide classroom socialization activities twice per month.
Head Start accepts parent volunteers as well as others to work in a preschool setting. Please contact our Volunteer Services staff at (559) 263-1200 to hear about potential volunteer opportunities.
All volunteers must have an assessment for TB and other required immunizations (measles/pertussis/flu).
Enthusiasm and a strong interest in preschool education is a must. The ability to relate well with preschool children, a general knowledge of child development, child behavior, and the processes involved in learning. Be a creative individual who can share his/her talents in the classroom and assist the teacher in the preparation of classroom materials. Good moral character and health.
Fresno EOC Head Start Preschool Volunteer Job Description
POSITION TITLE: Volunteer Teacher Assistant
REPORTS TO: Center Teacher Director or Teacher
OBJECTIVE: To insure that the teacher has adequate assistance carrying out the daily schedule and objectives.
- Assist teacher in carrying out daily lesson plans.
- Assist in preparation of classroom materials.
- Work with small groups of children to encourage self-expression and good self-esteem.
- Work with a child on a one-to-one basis to carry out an individualized program.
- Assist with maintenance and up-keep of the classroom.
- Assist teacher with supervision on the playground.
- Accompany and assist with supervision on field trips.
- Perform other duties as assigned by the teacher.