Head Start is a program of the United States Department of Health and Human Services that provides comprehensive early childhood education, health, nutrition, and parent involvement services to low-income children and their families. The program's services and resources are designed to foster stable family relationships, enhance children's physical and emotional well-being, and establish an environment to develop strong cognitive skills. The transition from preschool to elementary school imposes diverse developmental challenges that include requiring the children to engage successfully with their peers outside the family network, adjust to the space of a classroom, and meet the expectations the school setting provides.
Launched in 1965 by its creator and first director Jule Sugarman, Head Start was originally conceived as a catch-up summer school program that would teach low-income children in a few weeks what they needed to know to start elementary school. The Head Start Act of 1981 expanded the program. The program was revised when it was reauthorized in December 2007. Head Start is one of the longest-running programs attempting to address the effects of systemic poverty in the United States by intervening to aid children. As of late 2005, more than 22 million children had participated. The current director of Head Start is Dr. Deborah Bergeron more » « less