What is Head Start?

The Community Action Partnership of San Luis Obispo (CAPSLO) operates the Head Start Programs in San Luis Obispo County. Head Start is a comprehensive child development program that operates on the principle that the first five years of a child’s life are the most crucial in the learning process. Head Start realizes that parents are the first teachers of their children, and for that reason encourages the parents and families to be involved with the program.


Originating in 1964, Head Start has proven to be a successful social program. Funded by the federal government, the program is designed to support low-income families and children with disabilities. Head Start focuses on early childhood health development, family and community partnerships and program governance. These areas include Education, Health, Nutrition, Mental Health, Social Services, Parent Involvement, and Disabilities. The areas are interconnected to provide quality services to all children and families in Head Start.

What is Early Head Start?

CAPSLO operates Early Head Start in San Luis Obispo County. The time period from prenatal, right through the child’s birth to three years of age is when growth and development is most rapid. Physical health, safety, a warm and loving environment and intellectual stimulation are the key elements in providing a supportive environment for an infant/toddler. This time period is also the most critical in families who are facing a lot of stress from lack of resources or family support, as well as those who are first time mothers and fathers. The physical and emotional demands of raising a baby can be very challenging and frustrating. This is the best time to accept an offer of support from other individuals, whether it is respite or guidance.   Early Head Start uses home base and  a combination of center base/home base models, to provide comprehensive child development and family support that is consistent with what most families of infants/toddlers need. The family's culture and unique ways of relating to the child are respected and promoted. With Early Head Start's partnerships with many health, mental health, and social service agencies, additional resources and support are coordinated to provide additional services.


Early Head Start also provides transition services to enrolled children who are moving on to preschool whether in our Head Start Program or in another placement, to ensure continuity of care.