Oregon Preschool & Kindergarten

Contact Information
Carrie Somnis - OPK Director
csomnis@ncesd.k12.or.us
North Central ESD Early Education
(541) 215-0974 Mobile

Resource Links
Head Start
Oregon Head Start Association websites.
Umatilla Morrow Head Start

Head Start & OPK

What is Head Start & Oregon Pre-Kindergarten?

Head Start is a federal program that promotes school readiness of young children from low-income families by enhancing their cognitive, social and emotional development. Oregon modeled Oregon Pre-kindergarten (OPK) after Head Start to expand high-quality early learning opportunities for the lowest income and highest need preschool children.

OPK is free to families from the period of prenatal to five years old and not yet eligible for kindergarten, and who meet income or other eligibility qualifications. Program services include:

  • Preschool education and early childhood development

  • Child health/mental health and nutrition

  • Parent education and family support

In the classroom, the program provides a learning environment that supports children’s growth and development, which includes:

  • Language and literacy

  • Cognition and general knowledge

  • Physical development and health

  • Social and emotional development

  • Approaches to learning

OPK emphasizes the role of parents as their child’s first and most important teacher and builds relationships with families to support:

  • Family well-being and positive parent-child relationships

  • Families as learners and lifelong educators

  • Family engagement in transitions

  • Family connections to peers and community

  • Families as advocates and leaders

All services are designed to be responsive to each child and family’s ethnic, cultural, and linguistic heritage. NCESD is proud to partner with Head Start to have these serviced available in Sherman and Wheeler Counties.
For Head Start services in Gilliam County, please contact Umatilla Morrow Head Start.

For more information about Head Start, visit the Head Start and the Oregon Head Start Association websites

Head Start & OPK


What is Head Start & Oregon Pre-Kindergarten?

Head Start is a federal program that promotes school readiness of young children from low-income families by enhancing their cognitive, social and emotional development. Oregon modeled Oregon Pre-kindergarten (OPK) after Head Start to expand high-quality early learning opportunities for the lowest income and highest need preschool children.

OPK is free to families from the period of prenatal to five years old and not yet eligible for kindergarten, and who meet income or other eligibility qualifications. Program services include:

Preschool education and early childhood development
Child health/mental health and nutrition
Parent education and family support

In the classroom, the program provides a learning environment that supports children’s growth and development, which includes:

  • Language and literacy

  • Cognition and general knowledge

  • Physical development and health

  • Social and emotional development

  • Approaches to learning

OPK emphasizes the role of parents as their child’s first and most important teacher and builds relationships with families to support:

  • Family well-being and positive parent-child relationships

  • Families as learners and lifelong educators

  • Family engagement in transitions

  • Family connections to peers and community

  • Families as advocates and leaders

All services are designed to be responsive to each child and family’s ethnic, cultural, and linguistic heritage. NCESD is proud to partner with Head Start to have these serviced available in Sherman and Wheeler Counties.
For Head Start services in Gilliam County, please contact Umatilla Morrow Head Start.

For more information about Head Start, visit the Head Start and the Oregon Head Start Association websites.

Parent's Forms

  • North Central ESD Early Education Policy and Program By Laws

    North Central ESD Early Education Policy Council is here to assist and support local community preschools in serving the families in their community to meet or exceed Head Start Performance Standards.

  • NCESD Early Learning Enrollment Application

    Head Start programs promote the school readiness of children ages birth to 5 from low-income families by supporting their development in core areas of early learning, health, and family well-being while engaging parents as partners every step of the way.
    Complete this application to begin the enrollment process.

Link Library

  • Four Rivers Early Learning Hub

    4RELH works across the five sectors of early learning, health, human services, K-12 education, and private sector partners to ensure positive family outcomes.

    Working Together To Give All Children An Equitable Start

    Across Gilliam, Hood River, Sherman, Wasco and Wheeler Counties, where children thrive in stable and attached families, enter kindergarten ready to engage in meaningful learning and live in communities where people work together with intention and purpose.

  • Head Start Early Childhood Learning and Knowledge Center (ECLKC)

    Office of Head Start (OHS) provides grant funding and oversight to the programs that provide Head Start services in communities across the country. This site contains resources for Parents, Providers and Educators, and Administration.

  • National Association for the Education of Young Children

    The National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) is a professional membership organization that works to promote high-quality early learning for all young children, birth through age 8, by connecting early childhood practice, policy, and research.

  • Oregon Department of Education Early Learning Division

    Information from the Oregon Department of Education for Parents, Providers and Educators, and Administraion including:

    Early Learning Council
    Early Head Start
    Head Start & Oregon Pre-K
    Healthy Families Oregon
    Preschool Promise
    Relief Nurseries
    Special Populations
    Vroom

  • North Central Public Health District

    North Central Public Health District is the only three-county local health department in Oregon serving Wasco, Sherman, & Gilliam Counties, all located in the Columbia Gorge region.

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