What is Head Start?

The Alaska Head Start Association (AHSA) is dedicated to strengthening early learning programs through advocacy, education, and leadership. AHSA represents all 16 Head Start programs in Alaska, creating a unified voice and point of contact for partners and policymakers. Each year we strive to keep the Head Start community informed, to build collaborative relationships, partner with coalitions at the state and federal level, and to recognize outstanding achievement.

Education: AHSA provides high-quality training and professional development opportunities for Head Start directors, staff and families.

Advocacy: AHSA provides a voice for the Alaska Head Start community in Alaska.

Communication: AHSA connects Head Staff staff, parents and supporters into one community and promotes Head Start in all communities of Alaska.

Collaboration: AHSA partners with a variety of organizations interested in supporting Head Start, early childhood education and child well-being.

Why is Head Start Important in Alaska

Alaska Head Start is the largest early childhood program serving over 3,000 young children ages birth to age five in 100 Alaskan communities.

Head Start and Early Head Start grantees insure that thousands of children receive health and dental screenings each year. In many communities where medical and dental care choices are limited or non-existent, Head Start programs play a vital role in helping families access treatment for their children.

Parents of Head Start and Early Head Start children are involved in their child’s program. Parent involvement is directly related to children’s cognitive growth and social outcomes.

Over 10% of enrolled children have a diagnosed disability and are receiving coordinated services.

Children transition from Head Start to Kindergarten with increased literacy, math and social skills.

Head Start and Early Head Start programs employ approximately 900 people across the state, and have contracts with another 350 people. Over 3,400 people volunteer in statewide programs each year.

Demonstrated collaborative relationships with local and regional resources support and strengthen services to children and families in the State.

According to an Economic Opportunity Institute report from 2002 entitled “The Link between Early Childhood Education and Crime and Violence Reduction”, investments in early childhood education lead to large economic savings. For every $1 invested $7 is saved in special education services, correctional system services, and long term societal effects of delinquency.