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Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What is Head Start?
  2. What are the hours?
  3. What does Head Start cost?
  4. Where are the Head Start locations?
  5. Do they serve meals?
  6. How large are the classes?
  7. How will Head Start benefit my child?
  8. How will Head Start benefit the parents?
  9. What about transportation?
  10. What are the income guidelines for eligibility?
  11. What are the teachers' qualifications?
  12. What is the calendar for Head Start?
  13. Where do I register for Head Start?
  14. Who qualifies for Head Start?

  1. What is Head Start? (Back to Top)
    • Head Start is a federally funded program for low-income children and children with disabilities, with emphasis on cognitive, social, emotional, physical, and mental development of the child. The overall goal of the Head Start program is to bring about a greater degree of social competence in children of low-income families. The child's entire family, as well as the community, must be involved. Visit www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/ohs for more information.

  2. What are the hours? (Back to Top)
    • Centers usually follow the public school schedule. Times vary from a 7:30 am opening to a 5:30 closing.

  3. What does Head Start cost? (Back to Top)
    • There is no cost for children or their families to participate in the Head Start program.

  4. Where are the Head Start locations? (Back to Top)
    • Head Start Centers are located throughout Orange, Osceola, and Seminole counties. 4C administers the Head Start Program for Osceola and Seminole Counties. Orange County Head Start is administered by the Orange County Family Services Department. For more information on a specific county please call:

      Orange County Head Start (407) 836-6590
      Osceola County Head Start (321) 219-6200
      Seminole County Head Start (321) 275-0059

      Seminole County
      Altamonte Site
      525 Pineview St.
      Altamonte Springs, Fl 32701
      North Street Site
      900 North St.
      Longwood, Fl 32750
      Lawton Site
      188 S. Lake Jessup Rd.
      Oviedo, Fl 32765
      Hamilton Site
      1414 Celery Ave.
      Sanford, Fl 32771
      Midway Site
      2255 Right Way St.
      Sanford, Fl 32771
      Park Avenue Site
      301 South Oak Ave.
      Sanford, Fl 32771
      Pine Crest Site
      405 27th St.
      Sanford, Fl 32773
      Osceola County
      Baker Drive Site
      3500 Baker St.
      Kissimmee, Fl 34741
      Palm Plaza Site
      2230-2236 E. Irlo Bronson
      Memorial Highway
      Kissimmee, Fl 34744
      Tennessee Avenue Site
      1019 Tennessee Ave.
      St. Cloud, Fl 34769
      Orange County
      Early Head Start
      Rio Grande Site
      1264 S. Rio Grande Ave.
      Orlando, FL 32805

  5. Do they serve meals? (Back to Top)
    • Yes. Children receive nutritious family-style meals. All children are taught to wash their hands before meals and brush their teeth after meals, and are encouraged to develop good personal hygiene habits. Breakfast is also provided each day as well as nutritious snacks during the day.

  6. How large are the classes? (Back to Top)
    • Head Start regulations stipulate no more than 20 children per room, with one teacher for every ten children.

  7. How will Head Start benefit my child? (Back to Top)
    • Head Start is designed to prepare children for kindgarten. A major focus of the program is school readiness. It also provides children with activities that help them grow mentally, socially, emotionally, and physically.

      Head Start staff members recognize that as parents, you are the first and most important teacher of your children. They welcome your involvement in the Head Start activities, and will work as partners with you to help your child progress.

      Head Start staff members offer your child love, acceptance, understanding, and the opportunity to learn and to experience success. Head Start children socialize with others, solve problems, and have other experiences which help them become self-confident. The children also improve their listening and speaking skills. They spend time in stimulating settings where they form good habits and enjoy playing with toys and working on tasks with classmates. Curriculum activities are designed to increase each child’s literacy and numeracy skills.

      Your child will also be examined by skilled professionals for any health problems. Professionals will arrange vision and hearing tests and any needed immunizations. Head Start offers a nutrition assessment and dental exams as well. Children with health needs receive follow-up services. Mental Health and other services are available for children and families with special needs. Your child will leave Head Start more prepared for kindergarten, excited about learning, and ready to succeed.

  8. How will Head Start benefit the parents? (Back to Top)
    • Head Start offers parents who are Background Screened the opportunity to be involved in classroom activities, to participate in parent committee meetings at each site, and share in decision making at monthly Policy Council meetings. Head Start Family Advocates assist parents in setting goals, furthering their education, and finding needed resources in the community.

  9. What about transportation? (Back to Top)
    • Transportation is not provided in the Seminole and Osceola Head Start programs. Limited transportation is provided in the Orange County Head Start program. Call (407) 836-6590 for more details.

  10. What are the income guidelines for eligibility? (Back to Top)
    • Here are the updated Guidelines
      Head Start Family Income Guidelines for 2012/2013
      2012 Poverty Guidelines for the 48 Contiguous States and the District of Columbia
      Persons in family
      Poverty guideline
      *For families with more than 8 persons, add $3,960 for each additional person.

  11. What are the teachers' qualifications? (Back to Top)
    • It was a requirement of Head Start nationwide that 50% of its teachers hold an AA degree (or higher) in Early Childhood Development by September 30, 2003. Every teacher must possess a CDA (Certificate Development Associate) Degree or a degree in Early Childhood Education; teacher assistants need at least one year of experience in early childhood environment and must work toward a CDA if they do not possess one. By 2011, all Head Start teachers must have an AA degree. By 2013, 50% must have a Bachelor’s in Early Childhood Education.

  12. What is the calendar for Head Start? (Back to Top)
    • Sessions begin in August and end in June. We follow the public school calendar, including holidays. Head Start may have specific training days for Head Start staff only and parents will be notified in advance of any special closings for this reason.

  13. Where do I register for Head Start? (Back to Top)
    • You may stop by the central Head Start office in Orange, Seminole, and Osceola counties any day from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. or 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. It may be best if you call ahead for an appointment so that your registration will be done in a timely manner.Offices are open Monday through Friday.

      Seminole County Head Start Branch Offices

      301 South Oak Avenue, Sanford 32771 - 407 321 2264
      1414 Celery Avenue, Sanford 32771 - 407 532 4420
      900 North Street, Longwood 32750 - 407 332 5159
      Osceola County Head Start Branch Office

      2232 East Irlo Bronson Memorial Hwy, Kissimmee 34744 - 321 219 6211

      Orange County Head Start

      2100 East Michigan Street, Orlando 32806 - 407 836 6590
      When you come, please bring the following information to complete the application:
      • Child's birth certificate
      • Proof of county residence (lease, voter registration, deed)
      • Proof of Income (4 recent pay stubs, AFDC warrant, Child Support Document or W-2 form)
      • Social Security card for the child and yourself
      • Food Stamp printout

  14. Who qualifies for Head Start? (Back to Top)
    • Children who will be three years old on or before September 1, whose families meet the annual income eligibility guidelines set forth by the US Department of Health and Human Services, Administration on Children, Youth & Families. These children must reside within the county where the Head Start program is operating.

      Income is not the only eligibility criterion.  Other at-risk factors, such as a single-parent household or a child with a disability are determining factors for eligibility.  The Family Advocates can best answer these questions when you call.
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