One Commerce Lane Canton, NY 13617
(315) 386-1102

Head Start

The Head Start Program is a federally funded comprehensive school readiness program for children between 3 and 5 years of age. Head Start has experienced, certified, teachers who provide a safe, healthy, and nurturing environment for children, including children with special needs. Head Start children will acquire skills in math, science, literacy, language, social/emotional, physical health and development. Through play, children learn to express their thoughts, feelings, increase self-confidence, and have positive relationships with others.

Four brown-haired girls work on a crafts project, making a turtle-like animal sculpture
Potsdam Head Start welcome board with colorful pieces of paper used to create a rainbow tree surrounded by birds and butterflies and a Dr. Suess inspirational quote beside it

There are full day and part day classrooms as well as home-based services that give children the opportunity to gain social and emotional skills through play. Home-based services provide the same quality services as those provided in the classroom, offering school readiness for children, with the only difference being the learning environment is in the home. Trained home-based visitors provide weekly learning experiences for children. Group experiences are held twice a month for socialization with peers; these experiences are modeled after a typical classroom day at centers.

Study desk for two with two magnetic drawing boards and a plastic tree sculpture on top at a HeadStart center
A young brown-haired girl seated at a table with two other brown-haired girls and two female guardians facing the camera as she takes a bite out of a waffle meal shared with the others

Transportation is provided to and from Head Start in agency owned DOT inspected buses with monitors and equipped with five-point safety restraints. Children that attend centers are served breakfast and lunch and children in home-based programming are served a snack. Children receive screenings including a growth and developmental screening, vision and hearing, and a speech evaluation. Families receive assistance in obtaining needed community services.

Yellow school bus with hand-made Headstart signs stuck on the windows
Head Start transportation staff and the Head Start director pose in front of a yellow school bus in the winter time

Head Start offers the unique opportunity for parents and caregivers to become involved in their child’s education from the very beginning. We encourage parents to tell us about their child, volunteer to participate in classroom activities, and help make decisions for the program to enhance their child’s Head Start experience. Parents can be provided with information on community resources from the staff, and help identify family strengths, interests, and goals. Parents also have the opportunity to learn leadership skills, effective parenting tips, and to participate in volunteer experiences that can be added to resumes.

A total of 351 children and families are served in the Center-Based and Home Based Programs.

Head Start is currently seeking new children for enrollment!

Please see the brochure linked below for further information:

Brochure – Head Start PDF

Frequently Asked Questions

Click on an option for relevant FAQs

Do you provide transportation for my child?

Head Start families are provided the privilege of transportation from home to center and back home.  We transport within the center’s school district with one or two buses.   


I want to volunteer in the center and do not have transportation. Can a Head Start parent/guardian ride the bus?

Yes, with preplanning to make sure there is a seat available on the run a parent can ride the bus to the center and home. 


Does the bus arrive at my home at the same time daily?

Most likely no. Head Start drivers and monitors work hard to stay on schedule however parents/children being ready and looking for the bus with a span of 15 min. before and after an approximate time is for changes in arrival beyond the driver or monitors control. These include but are not limited to; child attendance on the bus, weather/road conditions, construction, traffic lights, and trains. 


Is my child buckled on a Head Start bus?

Head Start children are restrained in age, height, and weight appropriate child restraints that meet the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards. Head Start buses by law cannot move after loading until all children are safely buckled by our bus monitors. 


Is a bus monitor always on a Head Start bus?

Head Start program standards require a bus monitor to be on the bus before any children are transported.


How do I know my child will be safely dropped at my home?

As the registering parent in our program you provide a list of (3) emergency contacts with access to transportation and also a list of removal consent individuals you are authorizing to receive your child.  Our bus monitors check your list of names against picture identification for verification before releasing your child.  Should verification not be obtained at drop off we return your child to our center for pick up at the center.


What training do (a) both drivers and monitors, (b) bus drivers and (c) bus monitors receive?

Before hire bus Drivers and Monitors must complete back ground checks including fingerprinting and a driving abstract.

Drivers and Monitors receive; training in confidentiality, TB screening before working with children. First Aid and CPR Training and required re-certifications. Shaking baby, mandated reporting training requiring all our staff to perform as mandated reporters of child abuse and neglect.  Bus Drivers and Monitors are trained in safely loading, unloading of children, bus danger zones to not only keep our Head Start children transported safely and also empowering staff to meet Head Starts school readiness standards of teaching our children and parents bus safety rules for life.  This training also includes emergency procedures that are practiced with emergency drills at minimum (3) times a school year.  Drivers and monitors are continually observed performing their duties by their supervisor. 

Head start bus drivers are at least 21 yrs. of age and are required to follow NYS 19A regulations. This includes a CDL C driver’s license with a Passenger and School bus endorsement at minimum for our small buses. Bus drivers must pass a DOT/19A medical physical annually or biannually by a DMV registered physician.  Bus drivers receive annual defensive driving observations by a 19A examiner.  Bus drivers also must pass a written and practical behind the wheel road test biannually given by a 19A examiner.

Head Start bus monitors are at least 19 yrs. of age and receive MAT training to ensure children’s individual medical needs are met. Bus monitors pass a medical physical to ensure they are capable of all aspects of bus monitor responsibilities.


Do Head Start buses have cameras?

Yes, our buses have outside and inside cameras with audio installed for the safety of our Head Start children, families, and staff.  


How are Head Start buses maintained?

Bus drivers are required to perform daily Pre and Post Trip inspections of their buses to ensure the bus is safe to drive.  Buses are also inspected and serviced by trained mechanics on a 45day schedule. DOT inspections are performed every (6) months by a NYS DOT inspector.  Head Start’s budgeting has allowed for the upgrading of our buses to enable lowering maintenance costs and increase transportation safety for our Head Start children. 

For more information contact:

Head Start Director:  Barbara Adams 

Phone: (315) 386-8574

Fax: (315) 386-1865


There are 8 Head Start Centers with 14 classrooms in St. Lawrence County.

Current Head Start Center Locations:

Click on a location for more information

c/o St. Lawrence Central Elementary School,

Brasher Falls, NY 13613

(315) 389-5131 ext 29361 (office) or ext 29348 (classroom)

8 Judson St.

Canton, NY 13617

(315) 386-3118

22 Church St.

Gouverneur, NY 13642

(315) 287-1650

41 W. Orvis St.

Massena, NY 13662

(315) 769-0925

22 Main St.

Norwood, NY 13668

(315) 353-2021

c/o Kennedy Elementary School 801 Park St.

Ogdensburg, NY 13669

(315) 393-9244

c/o Parishville Elementary School, School St.

Parishville, NY 13672

(315) 265-4642 ext 24208

1/2 Lawrence Ave.

Potsdam, NY 13676

(315) 265-6710

The Home Based Program is a home pre-school program for parents and children that includes group times for socialization.  It is built on the premise that a parent is a child’s teacher for the first years of a child’s life. Eligible children that are three and four years old –depending on the area– are served along with their families in their own home.  The children receive all the services that center-based children receive, but in their homes.  The three year olds have the opportunity to transition into centers if they live in an area served by a center for a second year of Head Start.  This is a wonderful opportunity for families to receive one-on-one services as a three year old and then as a four year old have daily group socialization before transitioning to the school district for kindergarten.

The following areas are served by the Home Based Program, but this can vary from year to year:

Brasher Falls









For further information about the Home Based Program, call 315-386-8574.