ECEAP (pronounced "E-Cap") is the Early Childhood Education and Assistance Program funded by Washington State for children 3 and 4. Head Start is funded by the federal government for children ages 3 and 4 and, in some locations, pregnant women and children birth to age 3.
Both ECEAP and Head Start include:
- Free early learning child care or preschool to support child's development and learning. In some locations, Head Start may also offer home-based services.
- Family support and parent involvement.
- Child health coordination and nutrition.
- Services responsive and appropriate to each child's and family's heritage and experience.
Children who attend ECEAP and Head Start learn to manage their feelings, get along with others and follow classroom procedures. They build the beginning skills for reading, math and science. The programs work closely with parents to support their children’s health and education and to meet family goals. They help families access medical and dental care and social services. Children in this type of high-quality program nationwide are:
- Healthier when they start kindergarten.
- Less likely to be in special education or repeat a grade in school.
- More likely to graduate from high school and go onto college.
- Less likely to become pregnant as a teen or become involved in a crime.
- More likely to be employed and to earn more as an adult.