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Head Start

ScienceStart! daily lesson plans integrate literacy, math, center-based play and art around a science topic.  The easy-to-follow lesson plans provide a template of activities that fit the standard pre-school day, including large group time, center-based play, small- and large-motor activities, and read-aloud periods. These research-based and standards-based elements meet all Head Start requirements for classroom instruction.

Students are so engaged by the lessons that they remain on-task and rarely become disruptive.

Students develop:

  • A rich knowledge-base about the everyday world,
  • High-level vocabulary,
  • Sophisticated communication skills,
  • An understanding of the cycle of scientific investigation,
  • Age-appropriate intellectual/cognitive skills,
  • Critical early literacy skills.

ScienceStart! is an enrichment rather than a compensatory program and is based on developmentally appropriate goals and practices.  It was developed in collaboration with Head Start teachers and has been used successfully in a number of urban and rural Head Start classrooms. See 1. below

ScienceStart! includes materials that respond to Head Start Requirements for Parent Outreach. See 2. below

ScienceStart! includes materials that respond to the Head Start Requirement to assess Implementation Fidelity. See 3. below   

ScienceStart! includes materials that respond to the Head Start Requirement to document Scope and Sequence.See 4. below


View Sample Lesson Plans


View Sample ZipKit


1. Very few programs used by Head Start can provide evidence of their effectiveness. The University of Rochester sponsored three large-scale studies funded by the National Science Foundation and the US Department of Education; these studies used pre-post assessments to show that children made significant gains in language and literacy skills as they focused on science content and skills.  Rapid increases in children’ vocabulary reflected their growing conceptual knowledge as well as the opportunities provided by ScienceStart! for genuine conversations with teachers and other students.

2. Science Celebrations are school-based events during which children and their parents participate together in a variety of activities related to the science topics children have been investigating. View Science Celebrations.

Science ZipKits are take-home bags that contain instructions and all the materials needed to complete an open-ended science investigation. Parents can guide the children’s investigations or, when kits are coordinated with lesson plans, children can rely on what they have already learned in class to demonstrate the activities to their family members. View Science ZipKits.

3. The ScienceStart! Curriculum comes with an easy-to- use checklist to measure implementation fidelity, that is, the extent to which teachers actually follow the curriculum.  

This same checklist can also serve as a resource for improving teaching practices through professional development, classroom mentoring, and teacher self-reflection. This checklist also provides a guide for teachers as they learn to implement best-practices in the classroom. View Implementation Tool.

4. ScienceStart!'s Scope and Sequence satisfy Head Start Program Requirements as well as the early childhood standards proposed by states and professional associations such as National Head Start Association and National Association for the Education of Young Children.

ScienceStart!'s Scope and Sequence shows that the lesson plans exceed the early childhood standards proposed by states and by professional associations.  View Scope and Sequence.