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Denver Great Kids Head Start

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Denver Great Kids Head Start logo and girl smiling

Early education programs and support services for preschoolers and their families at no cost.

Denver Great Kids Head Start (DGKHS) is an award-winning program that prepares children to enter kindergarten confidently with the social, physical, emotional, cognitive skills and competencies necessary for continued school success. The City and County of Denver partners with outside organizations and agencies to provide various services for children and their families enrolled in the program.

Children in Head Start programs experience better health, educational, and economic outcomes well into adulthood.

Access to preschool programs and family support services

DGKHS and each of our partner agencies work closely together to ensure that all children receive a comprehensive and developmentally appropriate education. We use a variety of assessments and screening tools to ensure that every child receives individual instruction and achieves to his or her full potential. Data is collected three times per year using Teaching Strategies GOLD © which is supported by the Head Start Learning Outcomes Framework and Colorado Department of Education Results Matter Program. This child development outcomes tool is used to measure child growth, classroom strength, and areas for development.

Once a child is enrolled in our program, each will child and family will have the opportunity to participate in:

Initial screenings

Two home visits

Two parent teacher conferences

Parents will receive information about their child’s academic progress at each of these meetings. Parents and teachers collaborate to develop goals for the child in order to support learning both at home and in the program to ensure kindergarten readiness.

Children will have access to health care while enrolled and long after they leave Denver Great Kids Head Start.

Partnerships with local organizations, clinics and providers have been developed to meet the health and nutrition performance standards, which require all Head Start programs to assist families with:

  • Establishing a medical and dental home
  • Maintaining up-to-date medical schedules
        1. Early Periodic Screening Diagnostic and Treatment (EPSDT) schedule
        2. Vaccination schedule as recommended by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC)

Health Service Partners

  • Denver Health provides on-site nursing support, clinical oversight and consultation by a physician assistant, in addition to annual screenings for dental, hearing, vision and speech

Nutrition is part of a healthy lifestyle, and providing nutritious meals to children is a fundamental Head Start service. Head Start Performance Standards require all programs serve USDA approved meals in their centers. DGKHS delegate agencies design and implement nutrition programs that meet the nutritional needs and feeding requirements of each children, including those with special dietary needs, and children with disabilities. Our nutrition program serves a variety of foods that consider the cultural and ethnic preferences and broaden children’s food experience.

DGKHS partners with Nutrition Consultants to perform quality monitoring of the USDA Child and Adult Food Care Program (CACFP), as well as offer nutrition education to children, families and staff to promote wellness and establish good eating habits.

From 2012 to present, DGKHS has partnered with the University of Colorado Rocky Mountain Prevention Research Center to implement collaborative intervention programs related to healthy eating habits and physical activity to promote a Culture of Wellness and increase the number of children who are at a healthy weight. Key components of the Culture of Wellness Program include: I am Moving, I am Learning (IMIL); Integrated Nutrition Education Program (INEP), and a variety of Workplace Wellness activities such as Walking Clubs, and Fruit and Vegetable Challenges.  

DGKHS provides a wide range of supports to ensure that the needs of children with disabilities and children with ongoing needs but not identified with a disability, are fully supported to achieve to their full potential. DGKHS works in partnership with Denver Public Schools and Sewall Child Development Center ensure children receive services to which they are entitled, as well as to provide ongoing coaching and consultation to teachers and staff to ensure the successful inclusion of children.  All services, including initial referral, diagnostic evaluations, and ongoing service delivery are provided at Head Start sites.

DGKHS also supports parents to become successful advocates for their children. This occurs through ongoing consultation and dialog between staff and families, training opportunities, and referral to community resources.

A range of services for early childhood mental health consultation are provided onsite, by licensed staff from Denver Health and Hospitals Authority. These services include, classroom consultation and coaching for teachers, individual support for children and families, and a variety of parenting classes to promote social and emotional development in children.  DGKHS has taken the extra step to secure private funding, in addition to Head Start funding, to provide these services.

Goal: To develop a framework of education and resources that support linguistically and culturally responsive family literacy strategies for families and staff.

DKGHS embraces and encourages parental involvement by providing opportunities for parents to receive education on obtaining public health insurance and medical services, attend conferences, participate in program governance with the Policy Council and develop job and leadership skills. 

These opportunities exist through classes and participation in a variety of committees including:

  • Policy Council
  • Health Services Advisory Committee
  • Program Committee
  • English as a Second Language classes
  • GED classes
  • Trainings on financial literacy
  • Positive parenting classes

NOTE: We are in the process of updating our web page. Look for more information to come on August 11.

Al Martinez, Ph.D.
Executive Director
720-913-0888 |

Christopher Auer, MA, PMP
Disabilities & Mental Health Director
720-913-0894 |

Liane Martinez
School Readiness Director
720-913-0884 |

Mary McNeill
Family Services Director
720-913-0882 |

Lori Medina-Anderson
Health Services Director
720-913-0895 |

Caridad Nevarez
Office Manager
720-913-0883 |

How can I qualify and enroll my child?

Complete this short online contact form or reach out directly to one of our Head Start partners listed below to inquire about eligibility and enrollment:

Eligibility Requirements:

Family Support Service Providers
  • Denver Health
  • Nutrition Consultants
  • Sewall Child Development Center
Staff Contact

Caridad Nevarez
Office Manager
(720) 913-0883



201 W. Colfax Ave.
Department 1101
Denver, CO 80202

Monday - Friday 9 a.m - 5 p.m.


Office of Children's Affairs

Phone: 720-913-0900

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