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Children's Education
Early Head Start
For low-income families, Early Head Start provides intellectual, emotional and social activities for children 6 weeks to 3 years old. Nurturing and well-trained caregivers support the infants and toddlers in daily routines, such as eating, sleeping, diapering/toileting, and dressing. Classroom routines and educational activities are based on the children’s ages and stages of development. There is 1 staff person for every 4 infants/toddlers. Early Head Start services are provided at select Head Start sites as well as in the homes of licensed caregivers (in Family Child Care Homes).

Head Start
For low-income families, Head Start provides full-day/full-year care and education to prepare children for school. Classrooms have 1 teacher for every 10 children. Staff evaluate to determine the each child’s development, and perform ongoing assessment to monitor each child’s progress. Children participate in indoor and outdoor play and enjoy a variety of learning experiences that foster intellectual, physical, social and emotional growth appropriate to their age and stage of development.

Voluntary Pre-Kindergarten (VPK) Program
VPK is a program required by the government and designed to prepare four-year-olds in Florida for kindergarten. VPK gives each child an opportunity to perform better in school and throughout life with quality programs that include high literacy standards, accountability, appropriate lessons, substantial instruction periods, manageable class sizes, and qualified instructors. Staff must meet stringent requirements, including Level 2 FBI background checks. Every Florida resident with a child who turns 4 by September 1 is eligible for Florida’s free VPK program. Once a child is eligible to enter kindergarten, they are no longer eligible to participate in VPK. Contact the Early Learning Coalition of Hillsborough County at 813-740-4713.  

Addressing Disabilities and Special Needs
Head Start/Early Head Start assists children with all types of disabilities including but not limited to those with developmental, hearing, language, and visual disabilities as well as emotional, medical, mental, and social needs. Enrolled children with special needs are provided with Individualized Education Plans (IEP) and/or Individual Family Support Plans (IFSP). Children with special needs are given the same opportunities to participate in the classroom as other children and if necessary, modifications may be made to make their experience a fun filled learning one. The Special Needs Advisory Committee meets quarterly to guide these efforts.

Contact Information

For more information about these programs, contact Hillsborough County Head Start at 813-272-5140
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