Head Start is the nation’s largest and most successful school readiness program, providing comprehensive education, health, nutrition, and parent involvement services to poverty-level children and their families. Since 1971, the Northern Arizona Council of Governments (NACOG) has overseen the comprehensive Head Start programs that serve Northern Arizona’s at-risk community. Passionately focused on raising the quality of life for our region’s most vulnerable population, NACOG Head Start is united in strength and purpose through our shared core values.
Head Start Preschool & Early Head Start (EHS)
NACOG Head Start currently serves a total of 1,814 children. Preschool programs are available for those from 3-5 years, while Early Head Start (EHS) programs are designed for infants and toddlers from 0- 3 years. Prenatal mothers also receive education and support services under the EHS program.
NACOG Head Start provides preschool education to 1,621 children. The predominant setting is a center-based classroom, where children attend 3.5-hour sessions—either mornings or afternoons. Early Head Start (EHS) serves 193 infants and toddlers as well as expectant moms in a full-day, full-year program. Classroom instruction is just one part of EHS support services for pregnant women, babies, toddlers, and their families. EHS programs address issues like nutrition, movement, language, cognitive skills, mental health, and disabilities.
Both Head Start and EHS programs recognize the importance of the wholeness of a child’s life, including the family environment. NACOG Head Start works directly with parents and guardians, building on their strengths, providing relevant education, and helping them to develop greater self-sufficiency. Family Services goes to the very heart of a child’s world, opening new doors of attentive care and opportunities to grow. Beyond addressing urgent needs like food and shelter, NACOG Head Start assists with setting and meeting family goals, involving fathers, promoting family literacy, improving parenting skills, and furthering adult education. The EHS program, especially, stresses bonding and attachment as critical elements of healthy development.
Additional Head Start and EHS Services
Extended Day Programs
In order to assist working parents, NACOG Head Start provides full-day, center-based preschool programs in seven Northern Arizona communities. All EHS center-based programming—including the Flagstaff EHS Expansion, Sunnyside EHS, St. Johns EHS, Winslow EHS, Cottonwood EHS, Prescott Valley EHS and Yavapai EHS—provide full-day care.
Home Base Programs
Both Head Start preschool and EHS programs include a Home Base Program option, where a home visitor works directly with a parent or guardian during weekly 1.5-hour visits. These one-on-one sessions guide parents in planning and developing the same activities and services that the child would receive in a center-based classroom. Playgroups meet twice monthly and greatly enrich the Home Base Program, giving the children and their family’s time to socialize, share, learn, and grow together.