Head start for 3 & 4 year olds

EarlyLearn NYC Head Start | NYC Department of Education

Child Care Toddler Pre-Schooler

EarlyLearn NYC Head Start programs provide early child care and education that supports the whole family. Families can get services for at least eight hours a day.

  • EarlyLearn NYC is available for families who qualify for free or low-cost care
  • Head Start programs are available in centers
  • Eligibility is based on your family's income, size, and needs
  • Limited space is also available in Early Head Start programs, which serve pregnant mothers, infants, and toddlers

Am I eligible?

You may be eligible if you receive Cash Assistance and have an approved “reason for care.” Acceptable reasons for care include:

  • You are in a Human Resources Administration (HRA)-approved work, education, or training activity
  • You are looking for work and have an approved work search plan and proof of receipt of unemployment insurance
  • You live in temporary housing
  • You are enrolling a child who is in foster care

You are automatically eligible if one or more of these categories applies to you:

  • You receive HRA Cash Assistance
  • You live in temporary housing
  • You receive SSI (Supplemental Security Insurance)
  • Your income falls below a certain amount

The best way to find out if your family is eligible for Head Start is to contact a program directly.

With a few questions, we can help you find out if you may be eligible.

What will I need to apply?

To enroll your child in a program, you will need to prove the following:

  • Your child’s age
  • Your income, which can include a TANF or SSI benefit letter

I'm ready to apply

  • Use MySchools to find programs before applying. Choose the “EarlyLearn” filter in the drop-down menu, then type in your home address to find programs near you.
  • If you already get HRA benefits and want to enroll in an EarlyLearn NYC program, visit your assigned Job Center.
  • Call programs directly to learn about their availability and requirements.

How can I get help?

Other Child Care Programs

Child care for babies & toddlers

EarlyLearn NYC Child Care

NYC Department of Education

Early child care and education services for up to 10 hours a day

Early childhood education and support services

Living for the Young Family Through Education (LYFE)

NYC Department of Education/District 79

Student parents can get free early childhood education for their children ages 6 weeks to 4 years.

Child care in Brooklyn


NYC Department of Education

Daycare for young children in Brooklyn and help for their families.

Updated February 21, 2020