Head Start

Head Start is the federally funded, comprehensive preschool program designed to meet the emotional, social, health, nutritional, and psychological needs of children aged 3 to 5 and their families. Head Start helps develop social competencies in children and promotes self-sufficiency through a comprehensive family-focused approach. The Early Head Start program – established in 1994 – is the companion program created to address the same needs of children birth to age 3, expectant mothers, and their families. The Office of Head Start (OHS) continually works toward our mission for eligible children and families to receive high-quality services in safe and healthy settings to prepare children for school and life. OHS has five national priority areas to support this mission.  At the center of each is an unwavering commitment to equity, inclusion, and belonging.

NC Head Start-State Collaborative

The Office of Early Learning houses the NC Head Start-State Collaboration Office (NC HSSCO) through a federal grant from the Office of Head Start, Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The Office of Head Start recognizes that the States play an important role in the formulation and implementation of policies and initiatives that affect low income children and their families. As such, the NC Head Start-State Collaboration Office and its connection to education in the State is viewed as vital to such policy development and application.

NC Head Start Collaboration Coordinator - Macy Jones (macy.jones@dpi.nc.gov)

Head Start Center Locator

Six Federal Priorities for Head Start-State Collaboration Offices

Since 1990, the Office of Head Start has supported collaboration through grants to States to create greater visibility of Head Start at the State level, leading to the development of multi-agency and public/private partnerships that enhance early childhood services for low-income and other at-risk children and families. Head Start-State Collaboration Offices pursue six federal priorities that focus on coordinating Head Start services with other State and local initiatives including:

  • Partner with state child care systems emphasizing the Early Head Start – Child Care (EHS-CC) Partnership Initiatives
  • Work with state efforts to collect data regarding early childhood programs and child outcomes
  • Support the expansion and access of high quality, workforce, and career development opportunities for staff
  • Collaboration with State Quality Rating Improvement Systems (QRIS)
  • Work with state school systems to ensure continuity between Head Start and Kindergarten Entrance Assessment (KEA)
  • Any additional regional priorities such as health services, disability services, and children and families experiencing homelessness.


Tab/Accordion Items

Transition to Kindergarten Guiding Principles - The purpose of this document is to develop consistent transition practices and procedures between local preschool and kindergarten programs within communities in North Carolina.

Transition from Preschool to Kindergarten Plan Benchmarks of Quality - This form should be completed and returned by November 30, 2022.  It can be used to determine implementation readiness.

2022-23 Transition to Kindergarten Plan Template - Discuss Guiding Practice(s) listed within the template and use the prompts provided to create your team plan by completing each column of the template.

2022-23 Child Information Form - This form should be completed for each child at the end of Pre-K.  Each student is assigned a level of progression in alignment with Teaching Strategies GOLD® Objectives for Development & Learning.

NC Birth through Third Grade (B-3) Interagency Council Family Engagement Recommended Guidelines - This document highlights the recommended guidelines for family engagement to be developed by B- 3 Council. 

Family Engagment & Leadership Within the Smart Start Network  - This action guide and toolkit were created to maximize parental choice and knowledge about the state's mixed delivery system of Early Childhood Education programs and services. 

WIC Referral - WIC provides nutrition education, breastfeeding support, healthy food, health referrals and other services free of charge to North Carolina families who qualify. 

NC Child Care Capacity by County vs. Need - This article from EdNC shares information from a recent report about available spaces vs. need for spaces in NC child care centers by county.

Join the North Carolina Head Start Association! - Be a voice for Head Start Staff and Early Childhood Professionals.

Annual Report for 2021 - The Head Start Collaboration Office summarizes the achievements and partnerships of Head Start Collaboration Offices (HSCOs).