Head Start and Early Head Start

Head Start is a federal government program created in 1965 to give preschool children from low-income families a “head start” on their readiness for elementary school.

preschool boy smiling and holding stuffed dinosaur

Family Services of Westchester operates five Head Start locations in White Plains, NY. Enrollment is open to families who live in the White Plains City School District and meet federal income eligibility requirements.

Head Start’s Educational Mission

Head Start is more than a preschool program. It supports parents and families in their vital roles as the primary influencers on young children’s education and development by helping them sharpen their parenting skills and navigate the school system.

In addition to providing a comprehensive top-quality preschool education, Head Start also provides health and nutrition education to its students and their families.

Head Start emphasizes cognitive and language development, social and emotional development, physical and mental health and parent involvement. Participating Head Start families establish a “medical home” where children receive ongoing routine health and dental care.

In addition, parents have access to support programs that help the family move toward economic self-sufficiency. Within Head Start, four-year-olds can be enrolled in Universal Pre-Kindergarten in collaboration with the White Plains City School District.

Early Head Start

Research shows that the time from birth through first years of life is critical to healthy brain development in babies and toddlers. To get the best possible start in life and thrive, Early Head Start works with familiesyoung girl in pink jacket sliding down yellow slide both inside and outside the home to provide a rich variety of positive learning experiences in a secure and loving environment.

Early Head Start’s in-home program focuses on the mother’s health during pregnancy and the health of her newborn during the first 12 months of life.

When Early Head Start children reach their first birthdays, they join a center-based program, which continues to build each child’s cognitive and language skills, social and social and emotional development, and physical and mental health.

How to Apply for Head Start

To apply for Head Start, a parent or caregiver must:

  • Have proof of living in the White Plains City School District (such as a utility bill or phone bill)
  • Have a birth certificate for the child who is applying
  • Meet federal income eligibility requirements

Head Start and Early Head Start Application (in English y en Español)

Requirements and Application for Head Start and Early Head Start

Head Start Locations

Family Services of Westchester’s five Head Start locations in White Plains are:Head Start teacher reading to a group of preschool students

Eastview Center
350 Main Street
White Plains, NY 10601

North Street Center
First Baptist Church of White Plains
456 North Street
White Plains, NY 10606

Rochambeau Center
Early Childhood Education
228 Fisher Avenue, White Plains, NY 10606smiling Head Start preschoolers sitting on a bench

Slater Center
2 Fisher Court
White Plains, NY 10606

Bethel Center
Bethel Baptist Church
1 Fisher Court, Second Floor
White Plains, NY  10601

Annual Report 2017-2018

Head Start Is an Inspiring National Success Story!

Head Start has a proven track record of success! Many studies over the years have demonstrated that involvement in Head Start and Early Head Start significantly improves children’s health and their success in school.

For example, the 2004 Head Start Family and Experiences Survey (FACES) found that Head Start helped children overcome severe early socioeconomic handicaps. Compared with more affluent U.S. children of the same age, the Head Start children surveyed were essentially at national norms in early reading and writing and close to catching up with national norms in early math and vocabulary knowledge.

The same study found that English Language Learners (ELLS) benefited from Head Start as well. Because of Head Start, the proportion of ELLS with limited or no understanding of spoken English dropped from 35 percent to 13 percent.

A national evaluation of Early Head Start found that three-year-olds who participated in the program performed significantly better on a range of measures of cognitive, language and social-emotional development than a randomly assigned control group. Even more impressive, their parents scored significantly higher on many aspects of home environment and parenting behavior. Having a child enrolled in Early Head Start also facilitated parents’ progress toward economic self-sufficiency.

Early Learning Through Music

With a generous grant from Target, Family Services of Westchester is working to improve literacy among Early Head Start and Head Start children and their families through “Music Together,” a research-based music and movement curriculum designed to promote early learning in music, language and math skills.

logo for United Way of Westchester and Putnam Counties

Contact Information

Early Childhood Administrative Offices
Family Services of Westchester
106 North Broadway
White Plains, NY 10603

Carol Robinson, MS ED, Executive Director for Early Childhood Programs
(914) 358-4703

Danielle Jernigan, MS ED, Education Manager
(914) 358-5561

Hope Shapiro Lilian, MS, LMSW, Family and Community Engagement Manager 
(914) 358-5692

Alexa Juste, Health Manager
(914) 997-0147

Vivian Acevedo, Community Health Coordinator
(914) 997-0147, Ext. 15 or (914) 908-0372

Maria Pilco, Early Head Start Coordinator
(914) 761-2731, Ext. 14