Head Start enrollment is open for the 2023-2024 school year! Our Early Learning department is enrolling young students now, getting ready to support their healthy brain development while offering families child care, connection, and support. 

Our Early Learning programs offer tuition-free preschool education to children 3 to 5 years old whose families qualify. Now that the cost of living is so high, more and more families struggle to afford quality child care. That means it’s more important than ever to make sure every young one has the foundation to succeed. 

Giving kids a Head Start on brain development is crucial to children and families for the rest of their lives. The enriched, fun-filled Head Start classrooms are vibrant environments to explore, learn, and play. Combined with caring interaction from their teachers, this lays the foundation for lifelong learning and healthy relationships. 

Though these programs are primarily for families with children between 3 and 5, Early Head Start is available to qualifying families even before a child is born. These programs provide intensive child development and family support services to low-income infants and toddlers under 3, pregnant women, and their families. 

Learning the way young minds do, through exploration and play, and learning to connect with others carries kids through their lifetimes. Our preschool programs give every child the building blocks they need to set up their future. 

We asked a former client, now an Opportunity Council employee, to tell us a bit about what Head Start has been like for her family. Here’s what she said. 

My name is Katie Cannon Miles. We were first introduced to the program as a parent of the program. My then-three-year-old was in need of preschool, and we were new to the state and to the area. We heard about this great program in our community, and we came [to Opportunity Council] and met the staff. We were eligible and got our three-year-old enrolled.   

We just loved the staff so much, and the environment. When a job posting came up, I chatted with Jeanette, the director of this center. She encouraged me to apply, because I was currently a stay-at-home mom after the pandemic, which was a whole new world for me (not one that I enjoyed) – so I was ready to get back to work. The staff were so friendly and kind, and you could just tell that they really enjoyed their work. The way they interacted with each other, they were a great team, so I wanted to be a part of that.   

I applied for a position as a classroom assistant and a bus driver. I started as a classroom assistant and then went through my CDL training and became a bus driver as well, and I’m now looking at applying for a new position in the next school year. It’s made a big impact – both as a parent and as an employee – being able to get back into the workforce, be in such a supportive environment, and watch my child grow going from 3 to 5 in the program and watch her flourish.   

We’ve been offered extra support outside of the program as well. That is something I’ve learned – it’s not just a child in a classroom, but there are lots of extras that come with Head Start. Lots of support outside for families that we’ve had as a family. We’ve had mental health support as a family and for another child of ours and it’s been a lifesaver, truly a lifesaver. I encourage any families in the community (I live in the community and work in the community) to come apply. It’s a great place and it’s very family oriented.   

Enroll now or visit our Early Learning page for more information on Opportunity Council Early Learning Programs.  

A woman, young girl, and man stand contentedly, the man and woman each holding one of the girl's hands.

Katie Cannon Miles, a Head Start parent who became an Opportunity Council employee, stands with her family.