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Head Start Services

Young girl sits on couch and looks at a book

Capital Area Head Start (CAHS) creates partnerships with families to promote early learning skills in an effort to prepare children for school success. CAHS offers both Head Start (children ages three to five) and Early Head Start (pregnant women and children ages birth-three) programs.

Learn more about Early Head Start.

All Head Start and Early Head Start programs offer comprehensive services:

  • Prevention, early diagnosis and inclusion support services for children with physical, language, speech, vision, hearing or mental health needs
  • Preventative health services, including assistance in acquiring health insurance, finding a medical home, and obtaining children’s physicals, immunizations and dental health care before the child enters public school
  • Nutrition education for children and families
  • Meals in all programs to provide one- to two-thirds of children’s daily nutritional requirements, including breakfast, lunch and snack
  • Promoting Alternative Thinking Strategies (PATHS) program, a social-emotional curriculum that promotes age appropriate social and problem-solving skills
  • Social service supports for families through the teacher, home visitors, family support specialists and social services coordinators
  • Partnerships with parents, promoting the education of their children
  • Research-based curricula and assessments
  • Celebration of diversity and promotion of positive, inclusive classrooms for all children

Center Based Programs

Capital Area Head Start offers a variety of center programs. All of our centers provide meals, safe learning environments, as well as comprehensive school readiness programs.

Granite Street Center
The Granite Street Center serves children in the City of Harrisburg and offers full-day/full-year child care for children ages 3-5. Programs are specialized for families experiencing incarceration. The participating families receive two home visits and two parent-teacher conferences.
The maximum class size is fourteen children.
Martin Luther King Center
The Martin Luther King Center offers full-day/full-year child care for children ages birth to five in the City of Harrisburg. The maximum preschool class size for children ages 3-5 is sixteen. Two home visits and two parent-teacher conferences are included in the program.
Pre-K Counts Program
The Pre-K Counts program is a state-funded preschool program offered at Ben Franklin, Melrose, Downey, Camp Curtin, and Scott schools in Harrisburg. Offered during the school year from August to June, the program operates five days per week for five hours each day.
All of our Pre-K Counts teachers have a Pennsylvania teaching certificate in early childhood education, with a maximum class size of sixteen children.
Three home visits and two parent-teacher conferences are included in the program.
Part-Day Preschool
Part-Day Preschool is offered four days a week for three and a half hours each day. Classes follow the school year schedule and run from mid-September through early June. Children attend a morning or afternoon session. Teachers in this program conduct four home visits and two parent-teacher conferences.
Part-Day Preschool is offered at the Carlisle, HACC, Steelton and Lang Manor centers and at Tri-Community, Halifax, Foose, Marshall, and Fink schools.
Zion Center
The Zion Center offers specialized programming for families experiencing homelessness. Programming is offered three days a week for five hours each day and runs for the school year from mid-September through early June. Six home visits and two parent-teacher conferences are included. Staff also conduct educational workshops at area shelters.

Home Based Programs

Head Start Home Based
Home visitors provide services to children in their homes in Cumberland, Dauphin and Perry Counties. In the home-based programs, parents and home visitors work together to provide individualized learning activities for the child using in-home materials. Home visits occur three times per month and last one and a half hours. The program runs during the school year from September through May.  Children also have the opportunity to participate in a weekly class day with other children.  Class days last three and a half hours and include meals.
Granite Street Home Based Program
The Granite Street Center provides specialized home based programming for families experiencing incarceration. Head Start staff facilitate family connections between parents and children during the time they are separated. This program runs for the full year and includes three home visits each month for one and a half hours and weekly classes for children, which last for three and a half hours and provide meals during the class day.
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  • Testimonials

Counties in Pennsylvania

“I like the home visits. I am very pleased and appreciate the program.”

—Head Start parent from the Zion Center

“Staff do a good job teaching colors, numbers and songs. They keep us informed and help us.”

—Head Start parent from the Tri-Community School

“Staff and teachers are very patient and understanding to different children and cultures. The teachers are great.”

—Head Start parent from the Scott school

“I like the home based program and the support for unemployed families and the educational programs.”

—Head Start parent from the Granite Street Home Based Program

“Home visitors answer our questions about education, are willing to help the kids and offer important information and resources.”

—Head Start parent from the Home Based Program

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