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Shippensburg Head Start & Pre-K Counts Program

Shippensburg University has been operating the Shippensburg Head Start Program since 1971 as a component of our commitment to public service, as well as to provide university students in several degree programs the opportunity to apply classroom theory in a real-life community and family-based educational, human services organization.

The Program is governed by the Shippensburg University Council of Trustees, and shares decision-making with the Policy Council which is comprised of at least 50 percent of current Head Start parents.

Head Start

The design and approach of the Shippensburg Head Start Program integrates researched evidence based practices, materials, curriculums, assessments tools, screening tools, parenting programs, trainings, performance standards and community support from various agencies to meet the needs of preschool children and their families. The Program provides services in three center-based classrooms (16-18 children each), and five Early Head Start home-based groups (caseload of ten families, as many as twelve children) in a service area encompassing the Shippensburg, Newburg, Newville, and Carlisle areas.

All enrolled children receive developmentally and culturally appropriate curriculum and learning environment. Benefits to children and families are an increase in physical, social/emotional and cognitive child development. The community wide benefit includes higher cognitive skills of children resulting in school readiness, more parents skilled at parenting, and more parents involved in their child’s education and prepared to advocate for their child.

Head Start and Early Head Start programs are free, federally funded programs designed to promote school readiness for infants, toddlers, and preschoolers from families that meet income eligibility requirements.

Pre-K Counts

Pre-K Counts is an early childhood program that provides high quality pre-kindergarten services to at-risk children within the state so they are prepared for school success. Pre-K Counts uses the Creative Curriculum which focuses on: Approaches to Learning, Social and Emotional Development, Language and Literacy Development, Physical Development and Health, Cognition and General Knowledge (the academics).  A mental health curriculum, Second Step for Early Learning, is also used.

Children between age four and the entry age for kindergarten are eligible.  Eligible families can earn up to 300 percent of the poverty level.  Priority is given to the most at-risk children in the community.

Our Pre-K Counts Programs are "housed" within the Shippensburg Area School District (Nancy Grayson Elementary and James Burd Elementary), Big Spring Area School District (Newville Elementary), Carlisle Area School District (Hamilton Elementary and Mount Holly Springs Elementary) and South Middleton School District (W.G. Rice Elementary).  

Apply Here


For EMERGENCY DAYS (i.e., snow days and other inclement weather conditions), please follow your local school district's EMERGENCY DELAY SCHEDULE.


  •  Office Assistant – Assist administrative staff with office duties.

Family Development/Parent Engagement

  • Committee/Policy Council Member – Serve on center committees to assist with classroom planning and resulting class activities as well as participate in informative training sessions. Represent center committee on the Policy Council to become involved with Program planning, budget and policy development; provide two-way communication between the center committee and Policy Council.

  • Childcare Assistant – Provide childcare for the children of Head Start parents during Head Start functions.

  • Special Events – Assist Head Start staff with program special events.

  • Male Involvement – Assist the Head Start staff with male involvement initiatives and projects

Education/Mental Health/Disabilities Services

  • Classroom Assistant – Assist Teacher or Home Visitor with daily classroom activities, including special activities and field trips, snack and lunch set-up and participation; interact with children during indoor/outdoor classroom curriculum implementation.

  • Child Development Tutor – Assist Disability staff with service to children diagnosed with specific disabilities.

  • Bus Monitor – Following required special training, assist Driver with child transportation, including maintenance of Transportation Log, assisting with children’s placement in child restraint systems, and facilitating communication between the child’s parent/caregiver and the center.

  • Home Base Transportation – A parent/caregiver may provide transportation to and from a Home Base socialization and claim the time involved as an in-kind contribution to the Program.

  • Parent Engagement – Volunteer hours may be claimed for time spent in supporting the child and family’s experience in the Program, including participation in home; reading, journaling for the Literacy Project, supporting written plans and activities provided by the Teacher or Home Visitor, outreach efforts for recruitment, participating in community partnership with other parents or community members, supporting a lending library, health fair or other program activity, providing assistance in the classroom or on a field trip, reviewing menus for the Program, or participating in an employment interview.

  • Additional volunteer opportunities possible – providing special cultural, craft, or other activities for the children in the centers; assisting with Program special events, such as Family Fun Night or the Kindergarten Celebration; assisting with child care for meetings; other activities as proposed or needed to support Program service delivery.

Shippensburg University Head Start and Pre-K Counts Employment Application

Download an application form.

Contact the Shippensburg Head Start Program Cora I. Grove Spiritual Center, Shippensburg University 1871 Old Main Drive, Box 58 Shippensburg, PA 17257 Phone: 717-477-1626 Fax: (717) 477-4021