FAQ: Head Start

Frequently Asked Questions

Where are Head Start centers located?

Head Start centers are located throughout Orange, Osceola, and Seminole counties. 4C administers the Head Start program for Osceola and Seminole counties. Orange County Head Start is administered by the Orange County Family Services Department. For more information on a specific county, please call:

  • Orange County: (407) 836-6590
  • Osceola County: (321) 219-6204 or (321) 219-6213
  • Seminole County: (407) 915-6510 or (407) 332-5090

To see a list of locations, click here.

What is Head Start?

Head Start is a federally funded program for low-income children and children with disabilities, with emphasis on the cognitive, social, emotional, physical, and mental development of the child. The overall goal of the Head Start program is to bring about a greater degree of social competence in children of low-income families. The child’s entire family, as well as the community, must be involved. For more information, click here.

What are the hours of operations?

Centers usually follow the public school schedule. Times vary from a 7:30 a.m. opening to a 5:30 p.m. closing.

How much does Head Start cost?

There is no cost for children or their families to participate in the Head Start program.

Do they serve meals?

Yes. Children receive nutritious family-style meals. All children are taught to wash their hands before meals, brush their teeth after meals, and are encouraged to develop good personal hygiene habits. Breakfast is also provided each day, as well as nutritious snacks during the day.

How large are the classes?

Head Start regulations stipulate no more than 20 children per room, with one teacher for every 10 children.

How does Head Start benefit my child?

Head Start is designed to prepare children for kindergarten. A major focus of the program is school readiness. It also provides children with activities that help them grow mentally, socially, emotionally, and physically. Head Start staff members recognize that as parents, you are the first and most important teacher of your children. They welcome your involvement in Head Start activities and will work as partners with you to help your child’s progress. Head Start staff members offer your child love, acceptance, understanding, and the opportunity to learn and experience success. Head Start children socialize with others, solve problems, and have other experiences that help them become self-confident. The children also improve their listening and speaking skills. They spend time in stimulating settings where they form good habits and enjoy playing with toys and working on tasks with classmates. Curriculum activities are designed to increase each child’s literacy and numeracy skills. Your child will also be examined by skilled professionals for any health problems. Professionals will arrange vision and hearing tests and any needed immunizations. Head Start offers a nutrition assessment and dental exams. Children with health needs receive follow-up services. Mental health and other services are available for children and families with special needs. Your child will leave Head Start more prepared for kindergarten, excited about learning, and ready to succeed.

How does Head Start benefit parents?

Head Start offers parents who are Background Screened the opportunity to be involved in classroom activities, participate in parent committee meetings at each site, and share in decision making at monthly Policy Council meetings. Head Start Family Advocates assist parents in setting goals, furthering their education, and finding needed resources in the community.

What about transportation?

Transportation is not provided in the Seminole and Osceola Head Start programs. Limited transportation is provided in the Orange County Head Start program, call 407-836-6590 for more details.

What are the teachers’ qualifications?

All teachers in 4C Head Start classrooms have a Bachelor’s degree, exceeding the Head Start requirements.

What is the calendar year for Head Start?

Sessions begin in August and end in June. We follow the public school calendar, including holidays. Head Start may have specific training days for Head Start staff only, and parents will be notified in advance of any special closings for this reason.

Where do I register for Head Start?

You may stop by 4C Head Start offices in Seminole, and Osceola counties. Call ahead for an appointment so that your registration can be done in a timely manner.

  • Osceola County Head Start Branch Office: 2232 E. Irlo Bronson Memorial Hwy, Kissimmee, FL 34744. Phone: 321-219-6204 or 321-219-6213.
  • Seminole County Head Start Branch Offices: 419 S. Park Ave., Sanford, FL 32771. Phone: 407-915-6510.  490 North St., Suite 100, Longwood FL 32750. Phone: 407-332-5090.

When you come, please bring the following documentation to complete your application:

  • Child’s birth certificate.
  • Proof of county residence (lease, voter registration, deed).
  • Proof of income (four recent pay stubs, AFDC warrant, Child Support Document, or W-2 form).
  • Social Security cards for the child and yourself.
  • Food Stamp printout.

Who qualifies for Head Start?

Children who will be 3 years old on or before Sept. 1, whose families meet the annual income eligibility guidelines set forth by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration on Children, Youth & Families. Children must reside within the county where the Head Start program operates. Income is not the only eligibility criterion. Other at-risk factors, such as a single-parent household or a child with a disability are determining factors for eligibility. Family Advocates can best answer these questions when you call. For information about Early Head Start, serves children younger than 3 years old,  click here.