Programs and Services
Head Start programs prepare America’s most vulnerable young children to succeed in school and in life beyond school. To achieve this, Head Start programs deliver services to children and families in core areas of early learning, health, and family well-being while engaging parents as partners every step of the way.
Head Start encompasses Head Start preschool programs, which primarily serve 3- and 4-year-old children, and Early Head Start programs for infants, toddlers, and pregnant women. Head Start services are delivered nationwide through 1,600 agencies which tailor the federal program to the local needs of families in their service area. (from ECLKC)
Hearts of Texas Early Head Start
Our Early Head Start program provides no-cost childcare, extended social services, preventative health and prenatal education services to prenatal women and children from 8 weeks to 3 years. There are currently ten Early Head Start centers that provide services to 237 infants and toddlers in Bastrop, Lee, Fayette, and Colorado counties. We also provide home-based services to 10 prenatal women and children in Lee, Fayette, and Colorado counties.
The home-based option delivers the full range of services through weekly visits with the child's parents, primarily in the child's home and through group socializations in a community facility, home, or on field trips.
Home visitors visit once a week and work with parents and their children. Together, the home visitor and parents observe and think about the child’s development. They plan ways to help the child learn using parent-child interactions, daily routines, and household materials.
Pregnant Women Services
Hearts of Texas provides services to pregnant women. Using a research-based curriculum we support pregnant women in preparing for the birth and becoming a parent. We can assist with connections to resources, health care, and breastfeeding education as well as support mothers and families as their baby transitions into Early Head Start care. We also offer services for post-natal mothers and those with post-partum depression.
Hearts of Texas Head Start
Our Head Start program provides no-cost childcare, extended social services, and preventative health education to children and families. This program serves 238 3-year-old children at 9 locations throughout Bastrop, Lee, Fayette, and Colorado counties. We work with families in the transition from Head Start to Pre-K.
Our classrooms are designed to meet all children’s individual needs by using screenings, assessments, and quality curriculum. Hearts of Texas uses The Creative Curriculum® which
promotes approaches to learning, social and emotional development, language and literacy, cognition, and physical development. Development of good health and nutritional habits, personal
safety habits, and self-help skills are also promoted in a variety of indoor and outdoor learning experiences.
We also practice the Conscious Discipline© model. Conscious Discipline is a comprehensive classroom management program and a social-emotional curriculum. It is based on current brain research, child development information, and developmentally appropriate practices.
We partner with local early childhood intervention (ECI) programs and ISDs to serve children with disabilities. Services and simple changes in routines and environments may help some children significantly improve their skills and knowledge. Staff also assist in the referral process when a disability is suspected.
Health is the foundation of school readiness. As part of Head Start’s comprehensive services, we provide services to promote health, behavioral health, and safety for children and families.
To help children thrive, we ensure that children are up to date on immunizations and their state’s Early and Periodic Screening, Diagnosis, and Treatment (EPSDT) schedule, learn healthy habits, and can access the care they need. We also promote the physical and social and emotional well-being of families and staff.
Good nutrition is an important part of a healthy lifestyle. Having good nutrition improves pregnant women’s and children's ability to grow, develop, and achieve and maintain a healthy
weight. Through questionnaires and Well Child Checks, we monitor children’s nutrition and provide nutrition education opportunities for both children and families.
Hearts of Texas takes pride in the quality of family style meals served at the centers. Most sites offer home cooked meals prepared by qualified professionals from recipes that reflect our families’ cultures. Meals are well-balanced, nutritious, and meet at least 1/3 of the child’s daily nutritional needs. All food, formula, and snacks are provided by the program.
Family Partnerships/Parent Engagement
Parent engagement in the program is strongly encouraged and you are invited to be involved and engaged in your child’s school education. We offer a variety of engagement opportunities.
A few of these activities include working closely with your Family Advocate on family goals, attending parent meetings and parent teacher conferences, participating on the Policy Council, and
volunteering or observing in the classroom.
Each family can work with a Family Advocate. The Family Advocate guides you through the enrollment process and transitions between preschool programs. The Family Advocate will monitor your child’s health needs and assist you in complying with the program’s health requirements. They are also available to assist with locating resources that your family could benefit from. Family Advocates also encourage families to turn their dreams into reality through a goal-setting practice that relies on family strengths.
Hearts of Texas Head Start provides informative sessions and training to parents and families of enrolled children. Topics include parenting and child-development, health and nutrition, dual language development, safety, and others. Parents work with staff to plan and develop the training and informational sessions.
We also offer parenting classes throughout the year. Staff facilitate group discussions using the ReadyRosie research-based curriculum.
Each family applying will need to provide the following documents in order of priority:
- 1040, or 1040A income tax form which documents all the family members in the household; or current W2s for each working parent in the family.
- Annual benefit statements such as SNAP, TANF, SSI, Social Security, Child Support, Foster Care Payment, and Unemployment compensation when an applicant has been unemployed for the past twelve months. Also, grants/scholarships will need to be provided.
- Copy of child’s birth certificate or other approved documents showing child’s legal name, date of birth, and legal guardian.
“Head Start has impacted me and my family in so many ways. Many may view Head Start as just another daycare, but for me it was a learning environment that taught my kids more than just their ABCs or the names of shapes. It was a place they were taught how to be caring humans, how to interact with one another, all while building their curiosity about the world around them. My 18-year-old son is about to graduate high school and he still remembers that one purple haired teacher who instilled in him the love for learning.
I also worked at Head Start for several years which has greatly benefited me and my career today. I was taught to love and care for my students as well as how to teach with compassion by using Conscious Discipline, as well as from the example of some great role models."
Nicole, former parent and employee
“I was first introduced to Head Start when my son started the program. He is now 17 and starting his senior year in August. I was involved with the parent committee as the secretary and worked closely with the program. I gained a real understanding of what my role was in my children’s education. I was able to build a relationship with the staff that encouraged and motivated me to become a substitute teacher. I worked with Head Start for two years as a sub and started the process of obtaining my CDA in preschool. I enjoyed coming in and working with the children and wanted a better understanding of how children developed and learned..."
Amelia, former parent, and current employee, 13 years
"...In 2010, I made the transition from a substitute teacher to an Early Head Start teacher and worked as an EHS teacher for 13 years. I have encountered many young children in my years of working with EHS but the reason I continuously stayed as an EHS teacher was the impact and difference I could make in a child’s development and learning. That passion drove me to start my bachelor's degree in Early Childhood Education which I received in 2022, and now I am the center director for Jeff Dock CDC. I would like to be able to influence staff, parents, and others of the difference we can make in a child’s life and their foundation of learning."
Amelia, former parent, and current employee, 13 years
"I was just 20 years old when I started working for the Head Start Program. This program has helped me through my educational career as well as my family life. The agency has seen me grow as a person and as an employee. I was able to go to school and learn so much about Child Development. I have raised 3 of my own children as well as hundreds of my Head Start children. I have seen many families succeed with the help of the agency. I have learned to value what I do as an educator and value the little minds that will someday become the leaders of tomorrow. Now, I am able to help new employees, as they start their journey with our agency, just as I did 26 years ago!"
SM current employee, 26 years