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Programs & Services

We offer early childhood development programs designed to meet the educational, social, health, nutritional, and psychological needs of qualifying children, prenatal through age five, and their families.

Early Head Start

Head Start Kids

Early Head Start serves infants and toddlers from birth to three years of age as well as pregnant mothers.

Enrolled families receive regular home visits by Family Educators certified through the Parent as Teachers Born to Learn™ curriculum. Childcare for parents working or enrolled in school is provided at no cost to the parent through community child care centers that partner with Early Head Start. This year we partner with Kids at Heart, Inc. to provide these services. We also offer three classes at the Head Start of Shawnee Mission center in Overland Park.

Head Start

Head Start Kids

Head Start serves children from three to five years of age in a  preschool program with three program options.


Part Day/Part Year serves children in three classrooms, 3½ hours a day, Monday-Thursday, August–May. Classes are from 8-11:30 a.m. or 12:30-4 p.m. A bus option may also be available, on a limited basis. Children must reside within the Shawnee Mission School District, be 3 or 4 years old by August 31, and must have family incomes that are below the federal poverty guidelines.

Wrap-Around Care serves children in 3 classrooms from 7:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Monday-Friday, year-round.  It is designed to combine the preschool program with an extended day for parents who are working or in school at least 30 hours week. For the 2013-2014 program year, the cost is $110 a week. Head Start children must reside within the Shawnee Mission School District, be 3 or 4 years old by August 31, and have family incomes that meet the federal poverty guidelines.

The curriculum is designed to develop the social competencies, math, science and writing skills children need to enter kindergarten successfully.

Head Start Kids

Mealtime is a learning opportunity in the preschool classroom. The bagels and applesauce are delicious!

Opportunities for All Families

Are available in our infant/toddler and preschool classrooms. These enrollment opportunities are provided to families who do not meet Head Start eligibility requirements. We offer competitive rates that allow families in the community access to high quality comprehensive early childhood and family support services. Kansas Department for Children and Families Childcare Subsidy is accepted.

Infants - $260 a week
Toddlers - $235 a week
Part Day/Part Year - $90 a week
Full Day Care - $190 a week

For more information, contact Head Start of Shawnee Mission, 913-649-9714 and ask for a Family Support Advocate.

In a nationwide study*, Early Head Start children scored higher on standardized measures of cognitive and language development than the control groups. They showed more benefits in social and emotional development and less aggressive behavior.

*Conducted by Mathematica Policy Research and the National Center for Children and Families.


Healthy children are ready to learn.

We understand that children’s health issues may prevent them from succeeding in school.
Under the direction of Head Start’s Health Coordinator, all enrolled Head Start and Early Head Start children and their families are connected with a primary health care provider in order that children receive regular physical and/or well-baby exams.
The Health Coordinator tracks immunization records and provides referrals as needed. Each child receives regular growth assessments and hearing and vision screens, verbal lead screens and TB screens.
Early Head Start and Head Start children attending school in a classroom setting brush their teeth daily on site. The Health Coordinator works with the family to attain dental exams, including cleanings, and dental and fluoride treatments from local dentists.

Daily meal service is a vital part of Head Start's program. Children who are hungry are not prepared to learn. Food modifications made on a daily basis accommodate children with special needs. Children receive height and weight screens quarterly.

Mental health is important, too.

Teachers and Family Educators observe children for mental health or behavioral concerns. 

At time of program entry, every enrolled child receives a mental health assessment. The teaching staff, family support advocates and early intervention specialist work closely with parents to support children with mental health and behavioral concerns. Consultations, counseling and play therapy are provided as needed, with support from Intensive Family Counseling. In addition, parents have access to marital and family counseling on a sliding scale through a partnership with Friends University. Head Start of Shawnee Mission staff also works with SAFEHOME and the Johnson County Mental Health Center to ensure children and families receive the help they need. Parent trainings focusing on mental wellness topics such as stress reduction, positive parenting and family dynamics are held throughout the year.

Disabilities are not a barrier to success

Head Start’s Early Intervention Specialist works with the Shawnee Mission School District and Infant Toddler Services of Johnson County to identify children with disabilities through developmental screenings and coordinates services to those children.

The Early Intervention Specialist also provides support to families and teaching staff by conducting observations, facilitating referrals, attending Individualized Education Plan and Individualized Family Service Plan meetings, and assisting parents with advocating for the needs of their children.

Social Services help families in need

Family Educators and Family Support Advocates assist Early Head Start and Head Start families in evaluating their own strengths and needs. Each family sets a goal related to family self-sufficiency. If needed, the Family Educators and Family Support Advocates act as case managers, connecting families with community resources and support systems, and help families plan for the future.