Pender County Schools Preschool / Head Start Program

is a comprehensive child development and family focused program that serves three and four year-old children and their families. It is a child-focused program with the overall goal of increasing the school readiness of children. Head Start programs promote school readiness by enhancing the social and cognitive development of children through the provision of educational, health, nutritional and social services to enrolled children and families.

Head Start grantees and/or delegate agencies provide a range of individualized services in the areas of education and early childhood development: dental and mental health; nutrition; and parent involvement. All programs must adhere to the Head Start Program Performance Standards. The Head Start Program Performance Standards define the services that Head Start programs are to provide to the children and families that they serve. The Head Start Program Performance Standards and other information may be found at and

Pender County Schools Preschool / Head Start Program participates in the North Carolina Pre-Kindergarten Program under the direction of the North Carolina Division of Child Development and Early Education. The Division of Child Development and Early Education provides funding, academic standards and curriculum, collaboration, professional development, teacher licensure (nonpublic schools), technical assistance, monitoring and evaluation to support public schools and child care centers in providing high-quality pre-kindergarten. The Division of Child Development and Early Education strengthens collaboration among early childhood agencies and programs at the state and local levels, including the public schools, child care, Smart Start, NC Early Intervention Services, Head Start, and other programs toward our common goal of school success for all children.

The definition of “school readiness” in North Carolina is:
The condition of children when they enter school, based on the five domains
of development

1)  Health and physical development
2)  Social and emotional development
3)  Approaches to learning
4)  Language development and communication
5)  Cognition and general knowledge

Pender County Schools Preschool / Head Start Program oversees the operation of six four- or five- star sites across the county:

1)  Burgaw Elementary School – 5-star
2)  Cape Fear Community College campus – 5-star
3)  Malpass Corner Elementary School – 5-star
4)  North Topsail Elementary School – 4-star
5)  Pender High School campus – 4-star
6)  Rocky Point Primary School – 5-star

See the “Apply for preschool” tab for forms and information about applying.

Note: All students attending the Pender County Schools Preschool / Head Start Program are required by North Carolina state law to have a completed Health Assessment. In addition, Head Start Performance Standards requires students attending the Preschool /Head Start Program to have a completed Dental Examination. What this means for your child: A health and dental form must be completed, signed by the physician/dentist with the provider’s stamp and given to the Preschool / Head Start Program.