McDowell County Head Start & Early Head Start

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Sugar Hill-Main Office

2111 Sugar Hill Rd.

Marion, NC 28752

Phone: (828) 652-3229

Fax: (828) 652-5110


Early Head Start

5 Reid St.

Marion, NC 28752

Phone: (828) 652-1319

Fax: (828) 652-1709


What is Head Start?

Head Start is a Federally funded, early childhood education program that started in the summer of 1965 as an eight week summer program. Over the years the program has grown and changed into a comprehensive early learning program that addresses education, nutrition, health, and social service needs of low income children ages 3-5 and their families.

What is Early Head Start?

Early Head Start is the infant/toddler program modeled after Head Start to serve low income pregnant mothers, infants, and toddlers the same way that Head Start serves preschoolers and their families. Early Head Start was created in 1995.

Our Mission Statement

To provide high quality, comprehensive preschool services for children zero to five that will serve the needs of family and community and prepare children for entry to public school.

What We Offer...

We offer several different program options at varying locations. Our classrooms in Elementary schools are all Head Start children only and operate from 8:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m.. You can download/print a copy of our current Annual Report which is located at the bottom of this page. The Annual Report gives an annual overview of our budget, services to children, and basic statistics about our program.


HEAD START/EARLY HEAD START ONLY: These children are in free slots from 8:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m. These families qualify based on Federal poverty guidelines and our local selection criteria. We have a total of 120 Head Start slots spread out between Sugar Hill, Eastfield, and Nebo and 40 Centerbase Early Head Start slots as well as 12 Early Head Start Homebase slots based in our Early Head Start center, as well as 8 slots housed at the AEC EHS center in the Sugar Hill area.


EARLY HEAD START WITH WRAP-AROUND: These children are in a free slot from 8:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m.. These families qualify based on our guidelines, but need extended hours of care. These types of slots are limited and only available for infants/toddlers at Early Head Start.