Head Start

Head Start is a free federally-funded comprehensive child development program for 3 and 4 year olds that proposes to promote the physical, social, emotional, and cognitive growth of the children enrolled.

Income Eligible Families

The program is designed primarily for children whose families fall within the federal poverty income guidelines.

Head Start is based on the premise that all children share certain needs and that children of income eligible families, in particular, can benefit from a comprehensive developmental program to meet those needs. The program maximizes the strengths and unique experiences of each child. The family, which is the principal influence on the child’s development, is a direct participant in the program.

The overall goal of Head Start is directed to bringing about a greater degree of social competence in the child’s everyday effectiveness in dealing with both the present environment and future responsibilities. This goal takes into account social competencies development as well as health and nutrition.

Provided all income eligible children are enrolled, 10% of the total enrollment may include children of non-low-income families who are experiencing various severe hardships such as disabilities.

Enrollment is open to all children of Cattaraugus or Wyoming counties regardless of race, sex, creed, color, national origin or disabling conditions, whose family income falls within the guidelines.

The Total Development of Each Child

Head Start operates a variety of programs depending on the needs of the community and Head Start families. The Head Start Center Based Program operates four licensed centers located in Olean, Salamanca, Delevan, and Warsaw. Also included among Head Start are UPK (Universal Pre Kindergarten) classes that are located in Franklinville and Olean. The Center Based Team consists of Teachers, Assistant Teachers or Teacher Aides, Family Workers, Nutrition/Food Service Workers, Bus Drivers, Bus Monitors, Program Aides, and Volunteers.

Head Start generally follows the school calendar.

The Head Start Combined Option Program is offered in the Olean center only. Children enrolled in this option are provided class sessions and home visits that result in an amount of contact that is equivalent to the services provided through the Center Based Program Option or the Home Based Program Option.

Head Start interrelates the four components of Education, Health (physical, dental, mental, nutritional, and services to children with disabilities), Social Services and Parent Involvement to bring about a broad range of services which address the individual needs of each child and his family.

Engaging Children

Head Start activities are designed to build social development, language development, development of thinking processes, small and large muscle development, and self-help skills. The program believes children learn best through doing what they like best – play. Curriculum planning provides for children to learn by doing experiencing, experimenting, guessing, problem solving, all of which is incorporated in their “play” activities.

Serving Cattaraugus & Wyoming Counties

Children from all of Cattaraugus and Wyoming Counties are encouraged to apply. The Olean, Salamanca, Warsaw, and Delevan centers generally serve children from those areas. Head Start provides transportation via school bus to and from the centers but, as a result, is limited as to the extent of the bus routes. Parents may always provide their own transportation if they are outside the bus routes or they may enroll in the Home Based program.

All Head Start staff are committed to doing their best to provide meaningful Head Start experiences to children and families.

Do You Want More Information About Head Start?

Please fill out the online application and we will contact you regarding enrollment. Another way to contact us is at our Olean office at (716) 373-2447 or contact Head Start staff for further information regarding enrollment.