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Head Start is a federally funded program begun in 1965 and aimed at providing services to low-income children. A total of nine presidential administrations have kept Head Start moving forward through reauthorizations, appropriation of funds, and legislation to increase access and quality. Head Start serves as a model for economic investment and early childhood education (ECE). Head Start’s contribution to the field of early childhood runs deep as it has developed systems that regulate monitoring, program structures, family engagement, health, and learning in comprehensive ways.

Since its inception, Head Start has made various efforts to remain current and respond to research evaluating its outcomes. This entry briefly summarizes the history of Head Start and provides an overview of the chief components that define the program and ...

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