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Head Start/Early Head Start

Program Description

Head Start/Early Head Start is a comprehensive child development program that has been successfully serving income eligible children and their families for over 50 years.  It is a child-focused program with an overall goal of increasing school readiness and socialization for children from birth to five years old.  The program’s mission is to provide high quality, comprehensive child development and family support services that promote school readiness and foster parent, family and community engagement. This is accomplished by providing a rich educational environment, involving and supporting the family, and connecting with the community.  Head Start/Early Head Start is administered by the Administration for Children and Families, an agency of the US Department of Health and Human Services.

Alameda Family Services has administered the Head Start program since the early 1970’s and added the Early Head Start Program in 2009.  The program offers a variety of classroom schedules and options based on the child’s age and the needs of the family.  All program options offer the same education, health and family support services.  They include part-day, full day, a home-based program and, in partnership with the Woodstock Child Development Center of Alameda Unified School District, an extended day program for parents who are working or in school. 

Services Provided

Alameda Head Start offers a variety of supportive services to every child and their family. In addition, Head Start staff members speak many languages, and translation is offered for all program services, which are listed below:

  1. Education: Each classroom provides a safe and engaging learning environment that supports a young child’s physical, cognitive, social and emotional growth and development. Children’s individual interests, languages, cultural backgrounds and learning styles are taken into account. Parent/Teacher conferences and other meetings are scheduled throughout the year.
  2. Special Education Services: Alameda Head Start welcomes children with disabilities, who are given enrollment priority. Alameda Head Start works with the local school district, Alameda Unified, to refer, coordinate and provide special education services for children with disabilities attending Head Start.
  3. Family Services: Each family is assigned a Family Advocate who will help the family identify strengths, set goals, define needed services, supports, and social services referrals. The family and the Family Advocate work together in a partnership to help the family progress toward achieving and attaining goals and services which support positive development of the child in the home.
  4. Family Involvement: Families are involved in many aspects of the program including individualized family services, special events, parent trainings, and volunteering. This participation may include serving on a variety of committees such as the parent board known as the Policy Council.
  5. Mental Health: Alameda Head Start provides mental wellness activities in the classroom and works with families around their child’s mental health and behavior. Play therapy is available for families upon request and mental health interns work in some of the classrooms.
  6. Health: Family Advocates assist families in getting health services for their children as needed. Children are required to have current vaccinations and physical and dental exams, as well as hearing and vision screenings.
  7. Nutrition: Families and the Family Advocate discuss their child’s eating habits and nutrition in general. Children receive nutritious meals and snacks, provided by the California Department of Education, Nutrition Services Division.

Parent Handbook


Click here to download the 2016 Parent Handbook.





Services are no-cost for families with age eligible children residing or going to school in the City of Alameda.  Because the determination of income eligibility is a complex process, please contact the enrollment office to discuss your interest in enrolling your child at 510-629-6350.

Application Process

Application information is available at Alameda Family Services, 2325 Clement Avenue, Suite A, Alameda CA 94501 or by calling 510-629-6350.


Services are provided at no cost to qualified families.

Health Requirements

Comprehensive health services are provided to children that are enrolled.

Annual Calendar

2018-2019 Annual Calendar


Head Start Bureau

National Head Start Association

National Association for the Education of Young Children

Child Care and Adult Food Program

Head Start Act & Performance Standards

Annual Report

View the 2016 Annual Report

Funding Sources

Administration for Children and Families, Department of Health and Human Services
California Department of Education
Rotary Club of Alameda
Kiwanis Club of Alameda