Pregnant women and families with children from birth to 4 years of age.

Semcac Head Start offers Center-based and Home-based programs. Both options of the Semcac Head Start program promote development of skills that children need to be healthy, successful learners. We know that young children need to have experiences with language development, literacy, math, science, creative arts, social/emotional development, physical/health development and satisfaction in learning new things. Healthy habits and self-help skills are emphasized as well.

Classroom-based Option

Children attend a half-day (3.5 hour) or a full day (7 or 8 hour day, depending on location) program at a licensed center four days per week from September to May.

  • Children are provided hands on learning activities that prepare them for kindergarten.
  • Teachers and parents work together to evaluate and plan for the children’s learning.
  • Parents participate by volunteering in the classroom, being a part of the program governance or working on other activities.
  • Families are supported with medical, dental and nutrition services to promote healthy living.
  • Parents are given support to strengthen families and achieve goals through community connections.

A nutritious breakfast or lunch and a snack are provided under the U.S. Department of Agriculture Child Nutrition Program. In accordance with Federal law and U.S. Department of Agriculture policy, Semcac Head Start is prohibited from discriminating on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age, or disability. To file a complaint of discrimination, write USDA, Director, Office of Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Avenue, S.W., Washington, D.C. 202050-9410, or call 1-800-795-3272 or 1-202-720-6382 (TTY). USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer.

Home-based Option – Home Visits

This program reaches families expecting a baby and/or children birth-three years. Services are offered year round with a home –based educator coming to your home for 1.5 hours a week.

  • Home-based educator supports the parent in his/her role as their child’s teacher.
  • Parent, with assistance from the Educator, develops activities to meet the individual needs of their child(ren).
  • Home visitor helps parents understand how daily routines and activities, things in the home and resources in the community can be used as learning activities for the whole family.
  • Families are supported with Head Start comprehensive services (health, family support, etc.)

Center Socializations are offered every 2 weeks for 90 minutes. These provide opportunities for families to get together to form friendships and support systems. Children play together in activities designed by Educator and parent. Nutritious meals and education also provided.

Semcac Head Start staff will notify families within two weeks after a complete application is received. If after four weeks the family has not received notification, please call our toll-free number 866-808-0260.

Eligibility criteria are based primarily on the family income and the child’s age as well as whether a child has a disability. Indicators of a child and/or family at-risk, such as single parent family, a parent with special needs, referrals from social services or public health, and living in a location that would prevent them from experiencing pre-school, will be considered. The criteria define the children/ families who will be given priority for recruitment and selection. Each year the criteria is reviewed with parents in the program and, if needed, updates are completed with their input.

The degree to which a family falls below poverty is rated. Income eligibility is determined according to the Department of Health and Human Services Federal Poverty Guidelines released each year in February.At least 10% of the total number of enrollment opportunities will be made available to children with disabilities. Disabilities must be documented.

Your child will be put on a waiting list and will be considered as space becomes available. Children on the list will be ranked based on their original eligibility rating.

  • Individualized education,
  • referrals for children with special needs,
  • health and nutrition information including nutritious meals and snacks,
  • community resources referral for families, and
  • many volunteering opportunities.

We have Head Start Centers in Austin, Caledonia, Kasson, LaCrescent, Lanesboro/Eagle Bluff, Le Roy,  Owatonna, St. Charles and Winona.  We also have Early Head Start Centers in Austin and Winona. And, home-based Early Head Start is offered in Fillmore, Houston, Mower and Winona Counties.

New sites could be offered at additional locations depending on the volume of interested applicants.

Applications are accepted year round.  Interested families are encouraged to apply early because openings fill quickly. Call your local Semcac Contact Center for more assistance and to obtain your Head Start application.

Our staff is ready to help you with these few steps:

  1. Complete a simple application. You may print the application or fill it out directly on our website.  (This does not guarantee your child’s enrollment; see directions.)
  2. Verify your income status.
  3. Confirm your child has the required immunizations.
  4. If needed, document the special needs of your child.

Our priority is to serve families who meet federal income guidelines.

Call your local Semcac Contact Center/ Semcac office located in your county.

Head Start no longer provides transportation. Please see the Rolling Hills Transit website to learn more about how you can enroll your child in routine bus rides.