Head Start & Early Head Start

For Pre-School Aged Children

Head Start (HS) and Early Head Start (EHS) are comprehensive education, health, and nutrition programs specifically designed to help parents prepare their children for school in Franklin and Patrick Counties. They are designed to foster the healthy development of children from low-income families. STEP classrooms also provide the opportunity for social, emotional, and intellectual growth, along with health screenings and medical/dental support services. The Head Start approach serves the entire family and seeks to empower both parents and children. Nearly 25 million pre-school aged children across the United States have benefited from Head Start since its inception in 1965.

Our program serves over 150 clients including pregnant women and children from birth through age five. With over 50 education professionals, our team includes teachers, teacher assistants, family service specialists and educators, health advocates, and transportation specialists.

Head Start classrooms are generally open from 8:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., August through May, while Early Head Start operates on a year-round schedule. Our programs are supported by the Franklin and Patrick County Public Schools, the Infant and Toddler Connection of Virginia, and Piedmont Community Services.

Zyaire‘s Story

When Zyaire was diagnosed with autism, his mother, Ebony, faced several challenges. These initial hurdles were daunting, but Ebony’s determination to support her son led her to seek out the best resources available.

little Eli with a pen and paper practicing writing alphabet letters

Program Coordinator

Shirley Wells, Early Childhood Education Director
[email protected]
(540) 483-5142, ext. 3045

Register Now

Take advantage of this one-stop registration opportunity!

Smart2Start is a program that allows parents to apply to child care/early education options such as Franklin County Pre-K, participating private child care, and Franklin County Head Start/Early Head Start using just one application!

two children with watering cans helping water their school's raised garden beds


Doug and I can not thank STEP enough for being another welcoming, educational, and loving family for Braylen. The program has truly changed behaviors, he has learned so many great edicts, and really loves his new friends and teachers. We appreciate you all welcoming Doug and I as parents, I can’t wait to see what next year has in store. Thank you!

– Ms. Hodges