Programs for pregnant women and children, birth - 5 in Franklin, Hampshire and Western Hampden Counties
At HSELP, the ongoing health and safety of children, families and staff are our top priority! We have very stringent health and safety protocols in place and our systems, training and early childhood COVID-19 curriculum all work together to provide emotionally responsive care.
Community Action’s Head Start & Early Learning Programs (HSELP) provides quality early education & care and comprehensive services to pregnant women and children birth to five in Franklin, Hampshire and Western Hampden Counties, MA. Every day, our mission is front and center: we partner with families in all that we do and believe that parents are the experts on their children. Together, we build a solid foundation for resilient and resourceful caregivers; caring, confident, and curious children; and responsive, invested communities. All of our services are provided at either low or no cost to eligible children and families.
HSELP offers part-day/school year preschool programs in all counties. Towns include Agawam, Amherst, Easthampton, Greenfield, Northampton, Orange, Turners Falls, Ware and Westfield.
FULL-DAY/FULL-YEAR CLASSROOMS & FAMILY CHILD CARE
HSELP offers full-day/full-year infant, toddler and preschool programs for eligible families in Amherst, Northampton, Greenfield, & Turners Falls. We also contract with select, licensed Family Child Care providers throughout Hampshire and Franklin Counties.
EXTENDED-DAY/SCHOOL YEAR CLASSROOMS
HSELP also offers extended day/school year programs: one for preschoolers at our Orange site, and classrooms for Infants and Toddlers and Preschoolers at our Westfield site.
HSELP provides weekly Head Start home visiting for pregnant women, infants, toddlers, and preschoolers in all counties.
In our Home-Based program, we offer weekly play-based learning activities in your home, which are tailored to your child’s interests and needs. Your Home Visitor will partner with you as you care for your young child and will support you as your child’s primary Educator. You also have access to information, referral services, and opportunities to connect with other local families!
For pregnant women, your Home Visitor will partner with you and your family for you to learn more about pregnancy, parenting and childbirth. Your Home Visitor will provide information or trainings based on your unique needs and questions. Your newborn can be automatically enrolled into our Early Head Start home visiting program, as we continue to provide postpartum support.
All program options include comprehensive services. A Family Advocate is made available to work in partnership with you and your family to provide individualized support to you and your family. Specialists are available to provide information and assistance around health, special needs, social-emotional, behavioral and mental health concerns, as needed.
At HSELP we understand that the child’s parent is the most important person in the child’s life and that it is our role to support the whole family in a strengths- based, individualized and culturally competent way. We use the Brazelton Touchpoints™ approach, an evidence-based, trauma informed way of working with families in support of their relationship with their child, and the child’s development. We have on-staff trainers of the approach and are a designated Touchpoints™ site.
Our staff are highly qualified, often exceeding State and Head Start requirements. The majority of our Educators have Bachelor's degrees, and all Teacher Assistants have at minimum a Child Development Associate (CDA) credential, or are enrolled in a program. Our full day centers are accredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC), and all our centers and Family Child Care homes participate in the state’s Quality Rating Improvement System (QRIS).
FAMILY ENGAGEMENT & LEADERSHIP
As a Head Start program, we rely on your experience and leadership as we continually work to enhance our services. We invite you to become involved by joining local Family Meetings (monthly meetings by and for parents at sites) and by running for election to the Head Start Policy Council. We also invite you to take part in the many other activities for parents our program offers including specially designed parent groups, where parents find support with other parents in strengths-based settings. The groups are a way to build community among our parents as they engage with each other and share in the experience of parenting young ones, support the parent-child relationship, and provide tools to decrease parental stress.
The curricula we use align with Head Start Performance Standards, Department of Early Education and Care Frameworks, and the National Association for the Education of Young Children’s criteria. To view Head Start & Early Learning Program's Parent and Community Complaints Policy, click here.
In Head Start, we provide thousands of meals and snacks to children each month - in accordance with our federal funders, we comply with the USDA Non-Discrimination Statement, and we encourage participants to read it here.