Community Services for Children

Program Overview

Began in 1965, Head Start is the National provider of developmental and educational services to pregnant women, infants, toddlers and preschoolers and their families who live in poverty. Head Start/Early Head Start has served over 40 million children, demonstrating that children who receive HS services are more likely to graduate from high school, less likely to engage in high risk behavior, more likely to attend college, and have improved health status as adults.

Head Start promotes the school readiness of young children from low income families, and is designed to meet the local needs within the community. Head Start and Early Head Start, serving two generations, support the mental, social, and emotional competence of children from birth to age five.  In addition to education and child development, the Head Start/Early Head Start program provides children and their families with health, nutrition, social and other services.  Programs are responsive to each child and families’ ethnic, cultural and linguistic heritage, and focuses on whole child development in the context of the family and the community.  Head Start/Early Head Start provides early education within a comprehensive service framework that is committed to the engagement of families in the development of their children.  Head Start recognizes parents as the child’s first and most important teacher.  Head Start recognizes parents as leaders in program governance.

Our Head Start/Early Head Start programs are committed to ensuring the healthy development and school readiness of all children through the establishment of annual school readiness goals, and rigorous measurement of progress. We are committed to high quality instruction, healthy and safe environments that address every area of early learning including cognition, language and literacy, social/emotional, perceptual, motor and physical development, and approaches to learning.  Our program is fully inclusive of children with disabilities and special needs.

Our service area includes Lehigh and Northampton Counties with concentrations in Allentown, Bethlehem and Easton.  Head Start Preschool has 53 classrooms, of which 19 are Pre-K Counts, across 28 sites, located at public schools, community sites, housing authorities, churches and at the Donley Children’s Campus.  Early Head Start center based program, in collaboration with Child Welfare, has nine therapeutic classrooms located in Allentown.  Early Head Start home visitation option serves families in Allentown, Bethlehem and Easton with some suburban services to Emmaus and Catasauqua.

Special initiatives in our program include STEM Demonstration Classrooms, Literacy Technology Preschool Labs, Obesity Prevention Programs Birth to Five including “I am Moving I am Learning” and “Little Voices for Healthy Choices,” Natural Learning and Arts Integration, Rodale Institute, Lehigh University and Penn State University research partnerships

The Head Start and Early Head Start program is accredited by the Middle States Association.  In addition, all eligible Head Start/Early Head Start education sites are accredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children.  Early Head Start home visitation option has been designated as an Evidence Based Program by DHHS and the State of PA, OCDEL.

Our Head Start/Early Head Start program was designated in 2015 by the National Head Start Association as a Program of Excellence and is one of 10 programs in the country to have earned this distinction.


Counties Served


Primary Contact

Contact: Paula Margraf
Title: CEO/President
Address: 1520 Hanover Ave.

Allentown PA 18109
Phone: 6104376000
Fax: 6104329600

Enrollment Contact

Contact: Sandra Genzel
Phone: 6104376000

Oral Health Contact

Contact: Lora Lesak, RN, CPNP
Phone: 6104376000

Federal HS Children Funded

Lehigh: 416 Northampton: 270

EHS Funded

Lehigh: 144 Northampton: 57

State Head Start Funded

Lehigh: 60 Northampton: 85

PA Pre-K Counts

Lehigh: 294 Northampton: 79

Early Head Start-Child Care Partnerships

Lehigh: 32

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