Head Start and Pre-School Support Learning

The Head Start program (for children ages 3-5) and Early Head Start program (for pregnant women, infants, and toddlers) promote school readiness for children in low-income families by providing comprehensive educational, health, nutritional, and social services. Parents play a large role in the programs, both as primary educators of their children and as participants in administering the programs locally. Both programs provide pre-literacy and literacy experiences in a multi-cultural environment. Parents are also provided social services, including assistance with child care.

General Program Requirements

In order to qualify for this benefit program, you must:

  • be a resident of the State of New Jersey
  • be a parent or primary caregiver responsible for a child who is too young for public school
  • meet income qualifications

Children and families who are homeless, in foster care, or receiving TANF or SSI are eligible for services. Eligibility is determined by Head Start program staff and some families may be eligible for services if they are determined to be at or below the federal poverty level. Some grantees enroll a percentage of children from families with incomes above the Poverty Guidelines as well. Families are encouraged to apply.

If you do not meet these criteria, you may still qualify if you are a U.S. national, citizen or permanent resident whose financial status is low-income or very low income, who is under-employed, unemployed or about to become unemployed, facing pregnancy, less than 19 years of age yourself, or the parent or primary caregiver for children under the age of 19 years. Other qualifications may apply.

Your Next Steps

To begin the application process go to the Head Start Locator which provides a searchable database of Head Start programs. This Locator will provide you with the contact information of the Head Start programs nearest you. Once you see the listing of locations click on "More Details" to get the address and phone number of the program of interest.children learning at preschool

You may also call Head Start Knowledge and Information Management Services toll-free at 1-866-763-6481 to find a Head Start or Early Head Start program in your area.

Setting the Stage for Learning

Support and stimulate your child's sense of wonder by creating an atmosphere at home that sparks curiosity every day. Learn how

Preschool Advantage

Preschool Advantage funds quality preschool education in Morris and Somerset Counties and surrounding communities for children of working families in need. The child must be 3 years-old or 4 years-old by October 1st of the school year.

The organization's key components in accepting an applicant are that the family has a demonstrated need for financial assistance as well as a firm commitment to education for their preschooler. Applicants must have their own transportation.

The application deadline is February 28 each year for school programs beginning in the following September.

Learn more about Preschool Advantage. File your application online.

Sources for this page include