There are two types of Head Start programs:
Full day full year programs operate year round with a short summer break (about 2 weeks) and are open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
School day programs operate September – June and are open when Elementary schools are in session, six hours a day.
Greater Mount Vernon Community Head Start operates a full-day, full-year program for children from birth to age five for families in the south end of Fairfax County. Preschool and infant/toddler services are provided in the center-based option.
Greater Mount Vernon Community Head Start
Gum Springs Children’s Center
8100 Fordson Road
Alexandria, VA 22306
Offers Head Start and Early Head Start center-based option in the Route 1 area.
To apply, please call or visit our office.
Higher Horizons operates a full-day, full-year program for children from birth to age five in the Bailey’s Crossroads area. Preschool services are provided in the center-based option. Infant/toddler services are provided in the center-based and home-based options.
Higher Horizons Day Care Center, Inc.
5920 Summers Lane
Bailey’s Crossroads, VA 22041
Offers Head Start and Early Head Start center-based and Early Head Start home-based options in the Annandale and Falls Church areas.
Fairfax County Public Schools operates a school-year program for preschool children across the county during the school year. The Fairfax County Public Schools Early Head Start program is operated full-day, full-year in the Herndon/Reston area. Preschool services are provided in the center-based option. Infant/toddler services are provided in the center-based and home-based options.
Fairfax County Public Schools
Alan E. Leis Center
7423 Camp Alger Avenue
Falls Church, VA 22042
703-208-7900, Español 703-208-7901
Offers Head Start and Early Head Start center-based option throughout Fairfax County.
Head Start is a federal program that promotes the school readiness of children ages three to five in families with low income. Head Start helps prepare children for success in school through:
- Supporting social and emotional development
- Developing language and literacy skills
- Screening for developmental delays
- Accessing educational and behavioral services for children with special need
- Accessing healthy meals and snacks
- Locating prenatal care for pregnant women
- Connecting families to health care services, including dental and mental health services
- Parenting Workshops
- Becoming a Parent Volunteer
- Job Training, transportation assistance and other community support
Your family may be eligible for Head Start services if your family's income is determined to be at, or below, poverty level. Families are selected based on need. Preference is given to four year olds. Programs may enroll some children from families whose incomes are higher than the federal poverty level if they meet other eligibility requirements. Families with circumstances such as homelessness, children in foster care, or receiving TANF or SSI also qualify for services. Families must provide proof of income, proof of residency and proof of age. Application forms and documents required vary slightly by location.
Examples of required eligibility documents (for detailed info, call program):
- Proof of income: 1040 and W2s, paystubs
- Proof of public assistance: TANF paperwork, SSI paperwork (these two forms of public assistance are the only ones that are automatically eligible)
- Proof of residency: current lease, deed, resident manager's letter, lease, affidavit, rental agreement, telephone bill or utility bill which is addressed to them or lists the parent as an occupant
- Proof of age: birth certificate or other legal document
Although there are many Head Start slots available throughout the county, there may be a waiting list for services, depending on the time of year and specific location. If your family is placed on a waiting list, it means that while you are eligible to participate in the program, you may be selected if and when space becomes available.
Once enrolled, children will be placed in a Head Start program and will begin to receive services.
To apply, please call our office at 703-324-8290 or one of the agencies listed at the top of this page.