Head Start Program


"I want to publicly congratulate our early childhood education and administrative staff for achieving a flawless audit during our most recent federal review. We were notified that ACAP’s Head Start review resulted in ‘no deficiencies, no findings and no concerns; only program strengths.’ The passion and commitment of our early childhood education staff to providing the best services to children and families in Albany County has ensured our success. They deserve a gold star!”

- Kathleen Cloutier, ACAP Executive Director, 2011


Committed To Our Future Today
ACAP Head Start in Albany County was first established as a pilot project in 1965. It became a permanently funded activity with Albany Community Action Partnership in 1966.

During the 2013 school year Albany Community Action Partnership Head Start Program served 448 children and families including the Home-Based program. Three enrollment options are available for the community’s needs.

  • Extended day classes are currently available at two Head Start center locations in Albany for children whose parents work, attend school or receive training.
  • Head Start collaborates with local school districts to provide Universal Pre-K services in school district buildings and Head Start centers in Albany, Cohoes, Watervliet and Berne-Knox-Westerlo.
  • Integrated Special Education Services services are incorporated into our UPK classrooms at Giffen Elementary School in Albany and the Watervliet Elementary School in Watervliet.

Head Start provides comprehensive health, nutrition, dental, mental health, parent involvement, education and family development services. Center-based children receive two-thirds of the recommended daily nutritional allowances through breakfast and lunch provided at Head Start. Thirty percent of the enrolled children are diagnosed with disabilities and a full range of inclusive special education services are available.

For enrollment information, please contact our Service Navigation team at 463-3175, option 2.




These school/child readiness goals were developed using the Head Start Framework, NYS Early Learning Standards, Creative Curriculum, and Analysis of the CC GOLD base line data.

Social-Emotional Development

  • Self-Concept (measured by GOLD objective 1c)
    • Children will develop a growing capacity for independence in a range of activities, routines, and tasks.
  • Self- Regulation (measured by GOLD objectives 1a, 1b)
    • Children will demonstrate an increased capacity to follow rules and routines and use materials purposefully, safely, and respectfully.

Physical Development

  • Gross Motor Skills (measured by GOLD objective 6)
    • Children will show increased levels of proficiency, control, and balance (walking, running) as well as an increase in the ability to coordinate movements (throwing, kicking)
  • Fine Motor Skills (measured by GOLD objective 7)
    • Children will develop growing strength, dexterity, and controls needed to use tools (pencils, markers) and grow in hand-eye coordination.

Language and Literacy Development

  • Receptive and Expressive Language (measured by GOLD objectives 8, 9,10)
    • Children will develop an increasing ability to understand and use language to communicate information, experiences, ideas, feelings, needs, and questions.
  • Demonstrates Alphabet knowledge, Knowledge of print, and Early writing (measured by GOLD objectives 15, 16,19)
    • Children will show progress in associating the names of letters with their shapes and sounds
    • Children will progress from using scribbles, shapes, or pictures to represent ideas, to using letter-like symbols, to copying or writing familiar words such as their names.

Cognitive Development

  • Mathematics: Number concepts and patterns  (measured by GOLD objective 20, 21)
    • Children will begin to associate number concepts, vocabulary, quantities, and written numerals.
    • Children will begin to recognize, describe, compare, and name common shapes, their parts and attributes.
    • Children will build an increasing understanding of directionality, order, and positions of objects, and words such as up, down, over, under, top, bottom, inside, outside, in front and behind.
  • Critical Thinking skills: Science and Social studies (measured by GOLD objectives  24- 32)
    • Children will expand knowledge of and abilities to observe, describe, and discuss the natural world, materials, living things and natural processes. (measured by CC Gold Objectives 24 -28)
    • Children will demonstrate knowledge about self, people and how they live, and simple geographic knowledge ( measured by CC Gold Objectives 29- 32)

Approaches to Learning

  • Initiative and Curiosity (measured by GOLD objectives  11d, 11e)
    • Children will show an increasing eagerness to learn about and discuss a growing range of topics, ideas, and tasks.
  • Persistence & Engagement (measured by GOLD objective 11a, 11b, 11c)
    • Children will show an ability to maintain concentration over time on a task, question, and set of directions or interactions, despite distractions.
  • Cooperation (measured by GOLD objective 2 and 3)
    • Children will show an ability to participate cooperatively and constructively in group situations.



Head Start Children:

A large number of our current staff are former Head Start parents. These individuals simultaneously fill a vital role in their child's life and experience improved economic circumstances.

Head Start programs create positive, long-lasting outcomes by meeting critical needs and offering families new possibilities. Research shows that children who attend high quality, comprehensive early childhood programs:

  • require 90% fewer special educational services;
  • have 45% lower adolescent pregnancy rates;
  • have 30% lower juvenile delinquency rate;
  • have higher employment rates as adults;
  • have higher literacy;
  • are less likely to be on welfare;
  • are more likely to attend college;
  • are significantly more likely to own a home.

For every $1.00 we spend on a child in a Head Start program, we save $7.12 in future remediation costs alone. Head Start not only helps participants change the quality of their family's lives, it also helps the community.

ACAP's Head Start program depends on community support. The program must meet a 25% matching funds requirement. Please visit our How to Donate page for information on how you can help.

For more information on our Head Start program offered throughout Albany County, please view our frequently asked questions, contact the center nearest you, or call the ACAP Administrative Office at 518.463.3175.

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