Early Childhood Education

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Promoting School Readiness for Howard County Residents

Head Start and PreK

Head Start and Pre-K provide free pre-school to eligible 3- to 5-year-old children. Programs provide family engagement services, speech & language therapy, mental health consulting, hearing & vision screening, nutritional counseling, and limited transportation.


Community Action Council of Howard County strives for excellence in all that we do. Our four Head Start Centers are accredited by the Maryland State Department of Education, National Association for the Education of Young Children, National Head Start Association and Maryland EXCELS.


For more information contact Howard County Head Start at 410-313-6443.  To apply, please check the sections below. 


Eligibility Requirements

Free Pre-School for income eligible families with children ages 3-5

  • Children must turn 4 by September 1, 2018 to be enrolled in Pre-K Classes
  • Children must be 3 to be enrolled in Head Start mixed classes.
  • If your child is currently 3 years old, you can apply now.
  • If your child is not currently 3 years old, you must wait to submit COMPLETED applications until the child turns 3 years old. If space is not available the child will be placed on the waiting list.
  • Foster children are automatically qualified. Children with disabilities and/or IEP are encouraged to apply.
  • Family Size 2018 Income Guideline
    2 $16,460
    3 $20,780
    4 $25,100
    5 $29,420
    6 $33,740
    7 $38,060
    8 $42,380
    Each additional family member over 8, add $4,320

    How to Apply

    Accepting applications at our Gateway office located at 6751 Columbia Gateway Drive, 2nd floor, Columbia, MD 21046 Monday-Friday 8:30am-12pm then 1pm-4:30pm

    For application in English please click here.

    For application in Spanish please click here.

    What to Bring

    Completed Application (found above)

    Additional Required Documents (found below)

    • Child’s Proof of Age
      • Birth Certificate or
      • Baptismal record or
      • Passport
    • Income Verification for the previous 12 months)
      • Income Tax Return
      • W-2
      • 1040 Form
      • Pay Stubs (consecutive)
      • Social Security Benefits Letter
      • TCA Letter
      • Educational Scholarships/Grants
      • Child Support
      • Letter from Employer stating income
      • No income, please click here.
    • Proof of Residency in Howard County
      • Lease
      • Or, Utility Bill
      • Multi-family housing, please click here.
    • Copy of Legal Guardianship, if applicable
      (required for verification of foster care)
      • Medical Information
        • Child’s insurance card
        • Allergy Action Plan (if applicable) please click here.
        • Asthma Action Plan (if applicable) please click here.
        • Medication order form (if applicable) please click here.

      For more information, please call 410-313-6443.

      Current Parents

      Physical Forms click here.

      Dental Forms click here.

      Note: All physicals are due once a year and dental records are due every 6 months.
      Please return in your child’s backpack, mail or fax.
      Community Action Council
      c/o Head Start
      6751 Columbia Gateway Drive, #226
      Columbia, MD 21046
      Fax: 410-313-5717

      HEAD START CENTERS in Howard County, MD 

      Dasher Green Center

      6680 Cradlerock Way
      Columbia, Maryland 21045

      PHONE: (410) 313-6210

      FAX: (410) 313-6218


      Ellicott City Center

      8510 High Ridge Road
      Ellicott City, Maryland 21043

      PHONE: (410) 313-2750

      FAX: (410) 313-1910


      First Presbyterian Center

      9325 Presbyterian Lane
      Columbia, Maryland, 21045

      PHONE: 410-884-3500


      Old Cedar Lane Center

      5451 Beaverkill Road
      Columbia, Maryland, 21044

      PHONE: 410-313-7240