Head Start

Preschool children and their teacher build with blocks in their classroom.

All Head Start programs offer full-day, year-round care for families. Programs are at least eight hours long and are open during the school year and the summer. Head Start programs offer safe, positive learning environments for children aged three to four to learn, to play, and build the skills that get them ready for kindergarten and beyond.

Children in Head Start programs get nutritious meals and health screenings, and families get support in accessing the health services they need. Head Start programs help parents and families achieve their own goals, including employment, housing, and adult education. Head Start has some eligibility requirements for families. If you qualify, your child can begin a program any time during the year.

There are also spaces available in Early Head Start programs, which serve pregnant mothers, infants, and toddlers.

Who is Eligible?

The best way to find out if your family is eligible for Head Start is to contact a program directly. Your family may qualify for Head Start if at least one of these categories applies to you:

  • You live in temporary housing
  • You receive HRA Cash Assistance
  • You receive SSI (Supplemental Security Insurance)
  • You are enrolling a child who is in foster care
  • Your family income falls below a certain amount

How to Apply

Head Start programs can enroll children at any time throughout the year, if your family is eligible and there is a seat available.

  • Visit MySchools to find a program near you.
  • Apply through the program.

Questions about Head Start?

Call 311 to ask about early childhood care and education and help you explore your options.

If your child is currently in Early Intervention, learn more about your preschool options on the Moving to Preschool page.

2022 NYC Public School Admissions Guide 

View or download the new 2022 NYC Public Schools Admissions Guide! This book provides an overview of admissions processes and resources for EarlyLearn (childcare for eligible families), 3-K, pre-K, kindergarten, middle school, and high school, including a section on how to use MySchools.

Print copies are available in 10 languages at schools, early childhood programs, libraries, and other sites now. 

  • Call Us

    Call Monday-Friday, 8am-6pm at 718-935-2009.

  • Get Support

    Family Welcome Center staff are here to help.