Making the Link Between Health and School Readiness


Head Start is a school readiness program. The health-related activities required by the Head Start Program Performance Standards (HSPPS) are designed to ensure that every child who enters the program achieves his or her optimal development.

Children enter the program at different developmental levels and with a variety of health needs. Promptly identifying and treating children’s health issues and promoting their healthy development prepares children for school. Helping families understand developmental screening and referral, as well as proactive prevention when health issues affect children’s learning, supports school readiness.

This online tool is designed to help programs better understand the link between their school readiness goals and their health service plans. It will help program leaders and managers design school readiness goals that integrate meaningful health strategies. Well-targeted, actionable health promotion, prevention, and treatment can help achieve those goals.

It is meant to be used by:

Education leaders and school readiness teams to:

  • Understand the link between child health and school readiness
  • Develop health strategies that support school readiness goals
  • Integrate specific health services into school readiness plans

Health managers and health staff to:

  • Offer talking points about the link between child health and school readiness
  • Ensure health services plans, procedures, and protocols align with the program’s school readiness goals
  • Develop health strategies to include in school readiness plans

All program leaders to:

  • Help staff, families, partners, and policy makers understand the link between health and school readiness
  • Describe health strategies that promote children’s achievement of school readiness goals
  • Advocate for the inclusion of health services in a comprehensive approach to children’s educational services

Please read How Program Leaders Can Use This Tool to strengthen school readiness and health services plans.

Select Making the Link Between Health and School Readiness [PDF, 958KB] for the full PDF version of this tool.

Source: Early Childhood Learning and Knowledge Center and the National Center on Health

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