Head Start & Early Head Start

Bennington County

Head Start & Early Head Start

A woman smiles while holding a young girl on her lap. Another woman smiles and looks on. There is a classroom style room in the background with light colored wood cubbies.
The Head Start logo. Two wooden play blocks stacked on top of each other. The bottom one is white with red strips and the top one is blue with a white arrow pointing up.
Three preschool age children creat art at a white table. From left ro right: young girl with long dark hair and bangs, young child with wavy blonde hair, and a young boy with short dark hair

We prepare children and their families for school through collaborative approaches to high quality education, health and social services.

Bennington County Head Start/Early Start is a federally funded educational program for children ages 6 weeks to 5 years that has been providing early childhood/pre-k education in Bennington County since 1965. Staffed by caring, qualified professionals, the program specializes in education, school readiness, family engagement, and health and family services.

Who We Are

Head Start serves children ages 3 to 5, and Early Head Start serves children from 6 weeks to 3 years. Program services are at no cost for eligible families.

Our classrooms provide a rich and educational experience, and the program includes health screenings, healthy meals and snacks, and both structured and unstructured play indoors and outdoors in a safe setting. Children with disabilities are welcome at Bennington County Head Start/Early Head Start. Space is reserved for children with special needs (hearing, speech, vision impairment, emotional or physical challenges).

Bennington County Head Start/Early Head Start is licensed by the State of Vermont, administered by United Children’s Services division of United Counseling Service of Bennington County, and supported by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

large group of adults smiles in front of a modern building with Spring Center on the awning. Some people are sitting on the grass and those in the back of the photo are standing.

What We Offer

We offer services designed to meet each child’s (and each family’s) specific needs. The program follows the Vermont Early Learning Standards addressing children’s natural love for learning, building social and personal skills, supporting emotional health and building self-esteem. 

Head Start provides children with kindergarten readiness activities that help them grow socially, emotionally, and physically. Early Head Start utilizes a play-based model for learning. The program offers children and families a sense of belonging, support services, and a chance to be involved in activities to help your entire family. We believe that a parent is a child’s most important teacher, so we support parents in reaching their own goals and building better lives for themselves and their families.

The United Children's Services Logo. It has a green sprout next to the text that says "United Children's Services, Bennington County Head Start and Early Head Start"
Two children work on a cooking project in a commercial style kitchen with three adults.

  • Universal pre-k partnership with supervisory unions serving Bennington County. Children learn skills for school success
  • A variety of learning experiences, such as art, literacy, music, dance, language, number concepts, field trips, health and safety, nutrition, gardening, swimming, and outdoor play
  • Parent-teacher conferences and home visits to keep parents informed and share information
  • Developmental screening and evaluation
  • Special needs services for children with learning and/or physical disabilities
  • Head Start operates on a school-year schedule, with summer childcare programming available; Early Head Start operates September through mid-August

Good health fosters growth and learning. Our program is designed to improve your child’s physical development, and identify health problems that could interfere with learning. Health services connect with lifelong health resources.

  • Hearing, vision, and growth screenings
  • Physical and emotional developmental assessments
  • Tooth Tutor and oral health services
  • Healthy meals and nutrition education
  • Individualized informational assistance

We believe that a parent is a young child’s most important teacher, and we support parents in reaching their goals and building better lives for themselves and their families. Family Support Workers assist families in finding the information, resources and referrals they need.

  • Community information and referrals
  • Childcare financial assistance and referrals
  • Networking with local agencies to provide assistance with individual family needs
  • Community outreach activities
  • Regular home visits

  • Transportation for our Bennington and North Bennington locations is available for Head Start. Bus seating is limited and an application to determine eligibility is required. 
  • We can help with obtaining transportation for medical appointments.

  • Parenting classes and workshops on topics such as budgeting, child safety, stress management, healthy cooking and more
  • Volunteer opportunities on field trips, events, and in the classroom
  • Family literacy activities
  • Programs designed especially for dads and other male caregivers/guardians
  • Opportunities to serve on committees
    • Education/Curriculum
    • Parent/Center
    • Policy Council
    • Health Advisory
    • Family and Community Partnership

The UCS Infant and Toddler Center provides individualized early care and a safe and nurturing environment for children from six weeks to three-and-a-half years of age.

Eligible participants include children whose families meet the federal low-income guidelines — that is, whose incomes are at or below the federal poverty guidelines or who receive Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, Supplemental Security Income, or Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program public assistance services. Other eligible participants include children who are in the foster care system or experiencing homelessness. Programs may also accept a limited number of children who do not meet any of those eligibility criteria.

Head Start Policy Council

Policy Council is a parent leadership board that oversees various aspects of the Bennington County Head Start/Early Head Start Program. Topics of discussion include:

  • Parent Engagement
  • Parent Center Committee Participation & Planning Events
  • Review & Approve Program Goals & Objectives
  • Review & Respond to Children’s Outcomes & School Readiness Goals
  • Review & Approve Program Enrollment & Selection Criteria
  • Monitor Program Performance, Ongoing Oversight & the Program’s Self-assessment Review & Approve Policies & Procedures
  • Review & Approve Grant Budgets
  • Participate on Program Committees (Education/Curriculum; Health Advisory; Family & Community Partnership; Budget & Fiscal; Nutrition/Menu Planning; Program Strategic Planning & Self-assessment)
  • Review Program Complaints/Grievances
  • Participate in the Hiring/Termination Process for the Program Director

Policy Council Members

  • Katelyn Mason, Chair
  • Megan Oxendine, Vice Chair
  • William Baldwin Sr., UCH Board President
  • Trinity Borden, Park Street Center
  • Janel Burke, Spring Center
  • Taylor Gruber, Secretary/Treasurer
  • Anna Clark, UCS Infant/Toddler Center
  • Ashley Farrington, Oak Hill Children’s Center
  • Natasha Lumsden, Pownal Center
  • Chris Raetz, Spring Center
  • Stacey Sherman, Spring Center
  • Anne Smith, Spring Center

For Enrollment and Questions

Head Start
2 Park Street
North Bennington, VT 05257

Phone: (802) 442-3686
Fax: (802) 447-3423


For additional information about any locations call (802) 442-3686

North Bennington Campus
Pownal Center
Spring Center, Bennington
Infant and Toddler Center

Partner Locations

Forever Friends: (802) 447-8843
Oak Hill Children’s Center: (802) 823-7839
Northshire Day School: tel: (802) 362-1395
MPCC Monument: tel: (802) 733-0212

Head Start Reports

Bennington County Head Start and Early Head Start is recognized and accredited for quality programs. To deliver high quality care and enrichment, we carefully plan and evaluate our programs. Here are some of the documents we use to improve quality and meet needs.

Close up of two young children painting a picture of a house against a green landscape

The Parent Handbook provides useful information, including our annual calendar for parents and guardians of children enrolled in Bennington County Head Start.


The school readiness goals were identified in collaboration with the Vermont early childhood community as indicators of school readiness success. The goals can be viewed here.


The purpose of the Self Assessment is to meet Head Start Performance Standard 1305.3- Determining Community Strengths and Needs. The information from this assessment is used to set long and short-term program objectives, determine services most needed, and provide governing bodies with relevant information about the service area.


The purpose of the Community Assessment is to meet Head Start Performance Standard 1305.3- Determining Community Strengths and Needs. The information from this assessment is used to set long and short-term program objectives, determine services most needed, and provide governing bodies with relevant information about the service area.


The annual report outlines the programs and services provided by United Counseling Service, including Head Start/United Children’s Services. You can view the most recent UCH Annual Report here.

View Reports

This document provides information regarding our annual self-assessment, component and administrative systems monitoring, and classroom monitoring.


Bennington County Head Start is recognized as a 5-STARS program for high quality early childhood education by the Vermont Agency of Human Services, and in addition to federal regulations the program also follows Vermont State Licensing Standards through the Child Development Division (dcf.vermont.gov).

Additional informational websites include the National Head Start Association at www.nhsa.org and the Early Childhood Learning and Knowledge Center at www.eclkc.ohs.acf.hhs.gov.

Head Start® is a registered trademark of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).