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The Bloomingdale Head Start Model

The years before kindergarten are a critical period for children's intellectual growth. There is no longer any doubt that investing in the preschool years means greater success in school and in life.

In 1965, when the Head Start initiative began in Washington, D.C., the planners looked to the Bloomingdale Family Program as its model. Then, as today, Bloomingdale exemplifies how combining parent involvement with a strong early childhood program can lay a foundation for success in school for some of the nation's most vulnerable children. The Bloomingdale model is based on the following key components: an enriched curriculum; skilled and caring staff; early identification of children's possible developmental concerns so that timely intervention and support can be provided; and a strong role and voice for parents, which empowers them to become advocates for their children.

The success of this approach is well documented and cost-effective. Children who receive Bloomingdale support services move into elementary school, ready for challenge and eager to learn. If they struggle along the way, Bloomingdale is there with after-school support for students and assistance for the family.

Bloomingdale began sponsoring summer Head Start programs in 1965, and has operated a year-round Head Start program since 1969. We continue to serve as a demonstration program, modeling what Head Start — at its best — can offer children and their parents. Visitors from the U.S. and abroad come to observe our programs, and we help them replicate essential features that have contributed to our success.

Bloomingdale continues to serve as a demonstration program for what Head Start — at its best — can offer children and their parents. Year after year, visitors come to Bloomingdale to see us in action. Program planners, educators and researchers, graduate students, and government representatives from the U.S. and abroad come to observe how Bloomingdale creates an environment where children become confident learners and where parents are encouraged to pursue their own educational and professional aspirations. They observe how parents, students, school and community engage as partners in a human enterprise where every voice is heard and each voice matters.

We welcome visitors to observe in our classrooms and meet with staff. If you would like to visit the program, please Contact us and send your request to our Executive Director.