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Head Start Approach to

School Readiness

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. Learn more about the approach:

  • Physical, cognitive, social, and emotional development are all essential ingredients of school readiness.

  • Head Start views school readiness as children possessing the skills, knowledge, and attitudes necessary for success in school and for later learning and life.

  • Programs must establish school readiness goals that are appropriate for the ages and development of enrolled children in the following domains:

    • Approaches to Learning

    • Social and Emotional Development

    • Language and Literacy

    • Cognition

    • Perceptual, Motor, and Physical Development

  • Implementing and measuring progress toward school readiness goals helps programs individualize for each child and ensure that children know and can do what is needed to be ready for kindergarten.

  • Head Start respects parents as their children's primary nurturers, teachers, and advocates, and programs are required to consult with parents in establishing school readiness goals.

  • As children transition to kindergarten, Head Start programs and schools should work together to promote school readiness and engage families.

The frameworks below provide the foundation for comprehensive child development and family engagement services that lead to school readiness for young children and families.

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