Programs and Services

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preschool age children

Our Program

The Child Development Program is designed to meet each child’s individual needs and the educational priorities of the community. Regardless of cultural background or special needs, every child is offered a variety of learning experiences designed to foster physical, social, emotional, and cognitive growth and to develop an appreciation for ethnic and cultural diversity.


SIU Head Start offers a viarety of services, including nutrition, transportation, special need services, health services, parent envolvement, and more. Check out our exhaustive list of services to learn more.

About the Program

In order to attend, students must be three years old by September 1st of the school year and meet Head Start income guidelines. Three-year-olds with disabilities are eligible on their birthdays.

There are no parent fees for half-day morning and afternoon sessions, however parent fees exist for qualified families for full-day sessions (school year). Some over income slots are available. 

Visits from parents are encouraged and welcomed. Parents can spend time volunteering in their child's class. Head Start provides parenting education, parent leadership opportunities and family support services, and they schedule home visits and parent conferences.

What happens in preschool classes?

In Head Start classes, children explore their environment with toys, books, games, and activities geared to their interest. Head Start classes include:
  • Prereading and premath instruction
  • Field trips and community experiences
  • Holiday celebrations
  • An outdoor playground
  • Music and art activities
  • Special visitors
  • Development of social skills
  • Multicultural experiences
  • Kindergarten readiness
  • Computer opportunities
The children at SIU Head Start have scored at or above the national average in Language and Literacy skills. Children are taught by qualified preschool teachers! Head Start teachers are professionally trained early childhood educators and meet Head Start/DCFS qualifications.

Program Options

Classes meet five (4) days per week, Monday through Thursday. Families must qualify for childcare subsidy and make a parent co-pay to take part in the full day classroom option.

Center-Based Program: Children enrolled in center-based programs will attend Head Start classes in one of our four center sites, depending on the location of their home address and qualifications. Generally bus transportation is provided for these children. Half-day and full-day school-year programs are available.

Half-Day Program: Offered during the morning and afternoon. Half-day programs are offered at the Murphysboro, Marion, and Carbondale Centers. Morning sessions are from 8:00 am - 11:30 am, and afternoon sessions are from 12:30 pm - 4:00 pm

Full-Day, School-Year Programs: Two full-day classrooms are offered at the Carbondale location from 8:00 am - 4:00 pm.

Schedule of a half day of school

Half Day Schedule
AM Session PM Session Activity
8:00 12:30 Arrival/Greeting
8:15 1:00 Breakfast/Lunch/Tooth Brushing
9:15 1:45 Teacher Guided Activity Time-Outside Time
10:30 3:00 Prepare for lunch/Snack
11:15 3:45 Lunch/Snack
11:30 3:45 Prepare for Departure
11:30 4:00 Departure

Schedule of an full day of school

Full Day Schedule
Time Activity
8:00 am Arrival/Greeting
8:15 am Breakfast/Lunch/Tooth Brushing
9:30 am Teacher Guided Activity Time-Outside Time
11:00/11:30 am Lunch/Clean-up/Prepare for Nap Time
12:30 pm Nap Time
2:45/3:00 pm Snack
3:00/3:15 pm Teacher Guided Activity Time-Outside Time
3:45 pm Prepare for Departure
4:00 pm Departure