Ulster County Community Action Early Head Start/Head Start is a high-quality, early childhood development program that prepares income-eligible and at-risk children for success and a love of learning. Our program provides opportunities for social, emotional, physical and cognitive development for children from birth to five years old — serving 269 children and their families — and provides special services to pregnant women. Services include comprehensive health, nutrition, dental health, mental health, educational, social services, parent education and involvement opportunities, as well as additional services available to children with special needs. Respect for individuality, culture and diversity are valued.
Please view the Head Start Income Eligibility Guidelines
Apply Now for Early Head Start/Head Start
UCCAC Early/Head Start selects children for the program based on need, not “first-come/first-served”. The program is free to income-eligible families, with up to 10% over-income allowed. Families who apply will be contacted by a Family Worker from the center they are applying to schedule a Waitlist Interview. The center families apply is based on the school district where their child would attend once they are school-aged. The Family Worker will let families know what documentation they will need for the interview. Selections for the upcoming program year are made in early spring. Openings continue to be filled throughout the program year. Children applying to the Head Start program are eligible if they turn 3 years old by Dec. 1st of the program year or would become eligible upon their 3rd birthday after Dec. 1st. Children applying to the Early Head Start program (only in Kingston) must be at least 6 weeks old.
Families applying are reminded to please update any address/phone number changes that occur once they have applied.
Applications can be done online or downloaded online and mailed to UCCAC 70 Lindsley Ave. Kingston, NY 12401 or verbally by phone by calling (845)338-8750 ext. 118.
Early Head Start
The Early Head Start program serves 32 infants and toddlers in a center-based setting (in Kingston only). Infants and toddlers are supported in their development through utilization of the Tender Care and Early Learning curriculum. Teachers focus on providing individualized, relationship based care to foster positive experiences that are the foundation of healthy growth and development. The first three years of a child’s life lay the groundwork for later learning, and staff are committed to providing the highest quality experiences for our future leaders.
For Parents of Early/ Head Start Children
Head Start philosophy is that parents are the primary educators of their children, so parent involvement is welcomed and encouraged. Parents have various opportunities to volunteer in the program including assisting in their child’s classroom, helping with special projects and field trips, and serving on parent committees or Policy Council to name a few.
Learn more about Early Head Start/Head Start
The philosophy of Early Head Start /Head Start is that parents are the primary educators of their children and parents are integral partners in program decision-making. The program partners with community agencies to ensure a variety of services available to families to help them achieve their goals. Head Start is a federally funded program through the U.S. Dept of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families. Head Start follows federal Head Start Performance Standards as well as NYS Office of Children and Family Services Child Care Licensing regulations to assure quality as well as health and safety standards.
Based on Head Start Performance Standards, our program supports “Shared Decision Making”. Each Head Start center has parent groups which elect members to serve on Policy Council. Policy Council, a governing board of the program along with the U.C.C.A.C., Inc. Board of Directors, is involved with all major decisions and activities of the program including service plans, facilities, staffing, budgets, program reviews, self-assessments, etc. Policy Council is made up of 51% parent and 49% community representation.
Early Head Start/Head Start has various committees involved in planning services for the program which utilize community members with particular expertise and/or who work in a field pertaining to services our program provides. The program welcomes community volunteers to serve on these committees who give input and direction to the delivery of services. Head Start parents are encouraged to serve on these committees also. These committees are as follows:
Health and Family Services Committee
Composed of Head Start staff and community members such as doctors, dentists, social workers, mental health providers and others as identified.
Education Services Committee
Composed of staff and administrators from programs such as public school preschool and other agency early childhood programs (Pre-K, BOCES and YMCA) , DSS Early Intervention, and U.C. Child Care Council as well as relevant Head Start staff and administration.
If you are a local community member interested in serving on one of our committees, please submit a volunteer application, email us or contact our main office at ext. 118. Download our volunteer application.
The program utilizes the Head Start framework and a modified High Scope Curriculum which provides opportunities for all children to successfully engage, at his or her own pace, in developmentally appropriate experiences. Activities foster social, emotional, physical and cognitive growth. The program provides developmental and behavioral screening and on-going assessment in order to individualize activities and services for each child. Embracing the philosophy that parents are the primary educators of their children, the program partners with parents to support and plan for their development.
Services to Children with Disabilities
Working with families, local Committees on Preschool Education and the Early Intervention Program of Ulster County, Ulster County Community Action Head Start is committed to meeting the diverse needs of the children enrolled in the program. A minimum of ten percent of the children accepted into the program are children with disabilities. In addition, all children receive a developmental screening within 45 days of enrollment to identify any area that may need additional support. For resource information:
Head Start philosophy believes a child’s development is strongly impacted by their family. That is why the core philosophy of the program is that the parent is the primary educator of their child(ren). Early/Head Start staff work in partnership with families as they identify and address their strengths, needs, and goals. All centers have Family Workers who assist families in connecting with resources and meeting their goals. Families are offered opportunities to attend workshops on various topics such as parenting, first aid, stress management and GED classes as well as other topics of interest.
- Resource Guide – Coming soon
The Health program includes services and education for the physical, mental and dental health of Early Head Start/Head Start children and families. Head Start philosophy is based on the concept that children need to be healthy in order to learn. Healthy meals and education about nutrition play a large role in the program and are incorporated into all aspects of the program from meals served, to workshops for parents, to classroom activities. Family health and dental care are also emphasized.
All enrolled children are required to have a complete physical and dental exam before entering the classroom, and (for Early Head Start) to be current with Well Baby exams as per NYS Early Periodic Diagnosis Screening and Treatment (EPSDT) schedule. Children receive health screenings within 45 days of admission and later in the year. These screenings help identify needs a child may have and give guidance to follow-up care. Head Start staff assist families to establish a medical and dental home if they do not have one, as well as assistance with acquiring/navigating insurance coverage for their family.