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Early Head Start

Located in the Early Learning Center in Schenectady, Early Head Start is a federally funded program for families who are pregnant or have children up to age 3. The program has both a home visiting component and a center-based classroom component. Program staff help parents with the changing needs of their child and family. Parents learn ways to help their child meet milestones, including helping ensure the child is healthy, developmentally on target, and ready for the world. School readiness, including literacy, is a major component of the Early Head Start program.

Click here for the 2023-24 Early Head Start calendar.

The Early Head Start program has 9 classrooms for 72 infants and toddlers in the center-based option. Each classroom is staffed with 2 highly trained and skilled teachers. In addition, 22 children are served with weekly visits by highly trained and skilled staff in the home-visiting option. Staff follow a developmentally appropriate curriculum both in the home and in the center to ensure that quality care and learning is achieved.


Families benefit from culturally respectful and inclusive services, as well as through partnerships with other area services providers. Early Head Start provides the following services:

  • Mentoring and education around maternal and child health care, including prenatal, breast-feeding, immunizations, and lead screening
  • Screenings and educational activities to evaluate children’s developmental needs with referrals when necessary for professional evaluation and, if deemed appropriate, intervention
  • Assistance in acquiring adequate health services for the family, including physical, mental, dental, nutritional, vision, and auditory health services as needed
  • Mentoring for parents regarding vocational goals and resources•Home-based families are encouraged to attend group socializations each month so parents and children can meet other parents and children of similar age
  • Center-based care, 6.5 hours on weekdays at no cost to families


  • Increased school readiness and early literacy skills•Increased positive interaction between parents and children
  • Improved parental and child wellness and social connectedness
  • Increased economic self-sufficiency
  • Fewer incidents of child abuse and neglect

Getting Started

Pregnant women or families with children younger than age 3 whose parent(s) are living at or below poverty level in Schenectady County are eligible for services.

Early Head Start is now accepting online applications!
Apply in English
Apply in Spanish

Early Head Start - overview [Print]
Early Head Start Information for Parents [English] [Spanish]
Early Head Start Annual Report 2021-2022 [Print]
Early Head Start Annual Report 2021-2022 [Print]