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OPK and Head Start

Oregon Head Start Pre-Kindergarten

Oregon Head Start Pre-Kindergarten (OPK) is a comprehensive high quality early childhood development program offering integrated services in:

  • Education and Early Childhood Development
  • Child Health and Nutrition
  • Parent Education and Family Support

OPK programs receive funding from the Federal Office of Head Start, the Oregon Department of Education, or both. All OPK programs follow the same guidelines for providing services.

Who can participate in OPK?
OPK programs serve children between the ages of three and five from families living at or below the federal poverty level. Some programs also provide Early Head Start services for pregnant women and children birth to three. Children in foster care and children who are homeless are also automatically eligible. At least 10% of the enrollment slots in OPK programs are reserved for children with disabilities. OPK services are free for qualifying children.

How can I find out about OPK services in my area?
Currently, there are 28 OPK programs, serving children in every county in the state. You can find an alphabetical listing of all OPK programs, along with contact information in the OPK Directory.

Federal Head Start

Head Start is a federal program that promotes school readiness of children ages birth to five from low-income families by enhancing their cognitive, social, and emotional development.

The program provide comprehensive services to enrolled children and their families, which include health, nutrition, social, and other services determined to be necessary by family needs assessments, in addition to education and cognitive development services.

In the classroom, they program provides a learning environment that supports children’s growth in:

  • language and literacy;
  • cognition and general knowledge;
  • physical development and health;
  • social and emotional development; and
  • approaches to learning.

The program emphasizes the role of parents as their child’s first and most important teacher and builds relationships with families to support:

  • family well-being and positive parent-child relationships;
  • families as learners and lifelong educators;
  • family engagement in transitions;
  • family connections to peers and community; and
  • families as advocates and leaders.

Head Start services are designed to be responsive to each child and family’s ethnic, cultural, and linguistic heritage.

Check out federal Head Start’s latest school readiness resources.

Visit the Head Start website for more information.

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