Revving up Head Start: Lessons from recent research.

By Barnett, W. S. (2007).

For over 40 years, Head Start has been the nation’s largest comprehensive child development program for 3- and 4-year-old children in low-income families. Although it is frequently described as a compensatory education program, Head Start provides education, social, health, and nutritional services to children and their parents, in an attempt to improve children’s learning and development (defined quite broadly). In 1994, the scope of Head Start was expanded even more to include children from birth to age 3 and their families, in hopes that it could become more preventative by intervening earlier. Today, Head Start enrolls over 900,000 children (10 percent under age 3) and its federal budget approaches $7 billion (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2006a). Yet, despite its long history, policymakers and others continue to ask basic questions about Head Start’s effectiveness.