Free preschool programs enrolling now

Head Start is open and enrolling students for its free preschool program.

Three free programs are offered for children before they hit kindergarten in Kitsap County, including Head Start, Early Head Start and Early Childhood Education Assistance Program (ECEAP).

ECEAP (Early Childhood Education and Assistance Program) and Head Start are comprehensive preschool programs that provide free services and support to eligible children and their families.

The goal of both programs is to help ensure all Washington children enter kindergarten ready to succeed. The program includes: Early learning preschool, family support and parent involvement and child health coordination and nutrition.

“It’s structured, but yet it’s child-focused,” said Jackie Siler, Kitsap Community Resources family services manager. “We’re really big on health and nutrition.

We encourage families to do medical and to get physicals and dental exams and find a medical and dental home for their kiddo.”

Head Start provides health development in low-income children.

“Program grantees and delegate agencies deliver a range of services, responsive and appropriate to each child’s and each family’s heritage and experience, that encompass all aspects of a child’s development and learning,” states the WSD of Early Learning website.

Early Head Start focuses on providing “healthy prenatal outcomes, enhances the development of infants and toddlers, and promotes healthy family functioning,” states the site.

Benefits of enrolling children in the programs includes providing “children with activities to help them grow mentally, socially, emotionally, and physically.

The Head Start/ECEAP staff recognize that parents are the first and most important teachers of their children,” states the Kitsap Community Resources website,

Programs are comprehensive with focuses on education, health, parent involvement and social services.

Part day programs are available for children 3 to 5 years and are for families not needing child care services.

Classes are three to three and a half hours a day, three to four times a week depending on location. The program runs September through May, and it provides child development, nutrition, health and family services. It also serves special needs children.

Full day programs are for families working or going to school who qualify for Head Start of the Early Head Start program.

The programs are for families needing full day services and it runs a minimum of six hours a day, year round.

Full day options take Working Connections Child Care Subsidies and private pray for childcare costs. Special needs children are also served through full day programs.

The program is not a first-come-first serve basis, but is for families with the greatest need. Not all families who apply get into the program, but those who do must stay fully enrolled at all times. Children do not have to be potty trained.

To be eligible, a family of four must have an income requirement of $23,050 or lower. Families receiving public assistance or who have Foster Care children are automatically eligible, states the Kitsap Community Resources website.

“For the Head Start and ECEA Programs, children must be at least three years old by the date used to determine eligibility for public schools.

Pregnant mothers and those with infants and toddlers can enroll in center-based or home-based options,” states the website.


Agencies in Kitsap County

Kitsap Community Resources (KCR)


*Bainbridge Island


*Central Kitsap



Port Gamble S’Klallam Tribe


*North Kitsap


Olympic ESD 114



*Central Kitsap

*North Kitsap

*South Kitsap


Suquamish Tribe


*North Kitsap










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