Head Start Program

We take applications year round!

WCMCA Head Start and Early Head Start serves families with children in a 7-county area, which includes Douglas, Grant, Otter Tail, Pope, Stevens, Traverse and Wadena Counties.  Age and income guidelines are set by the federal government.  Ten percent of Head Start’s enrollment is reserved for special needs children who may be over the income guidelines.  All Head Start services are provided at no cost to the family.

To begin the Head Start / Early Head Start application process, click the link below and complete the application.

Head Start Application

Email application to Mary at maryc@wcmca.org or send to: WCMCA Head Start, 411 Industrial Park Blvd. , Elbow Lake MN  56531

Please review your Privacy Rights (PDF)

A Head Start staff member will contact you to review your application and to complete income verification.

If you have questions, contact Mary at 218-685-7059.

Head Start and Early Head Start Program Offerings

Preschool Head Start – 3 & 4 year olds

  • Alexandria Head Start located in the Early Education Center at Woodland Elementary School: Kim Haugen, Denise Holm, Jodi Schmidt and Shelia Vacek: 320-762-8046
  • Ashby Head Start located in the Ashby School: Kali Peterson: 320-760-2274
  • Brandon Head Start located in the Brandon School: Nicole Olson: 320-760-1984
  • Elbow Lake Head Start located in the West Central Area North School: Stacie Rylander: 320-760-2275
  • Fergus Falls Head Start located in the Synstelien Community Services Building: Amber Eastwood: 218-671-3521, Denise Frederick: 218-770-9575, Amanda Morales: 320-815-3879 and Kristie Williams: 218-770-9278
  • Menahga Head Start located in the Menahga Early Childhood Center: Pamela Roepke: 218-539-0516
  • Glenwood Head Start located in the Minnewaska Elementary School: Deb Holmes: 320-760-2273 and Imogen Kirckof: 320-760-2278
  • Morris Head Start located in the Morris Area Child Care Center: Melissa Whittmore and Beth Huebner: 320-589-7949
  • Osakis Head Start located in Osakis Public School: Chessie Andrist: 320-760-2288
  • Pelican Rapids Head Start located in the Pelican Rapids Elementary School: Resa Bittner: 218-770-8711, Carrie Harthun: 218-770-9232 and Debra Lontz: 218-770-8858
  • Perham Head Start located in the Boys and Girls Club: Amy Olsen: 218-639-4290
  • Wadena Head Start located in Wadena-Deer Creek Elementary School: Amanda Tyrrell: 218-639-3914

Early Head Start – Pregnant women and children birth to 3 years old

  • Alexandria Area Early Head Start Naomi Fleming, 320-760-4469
  • Fergus Falls Area Early Head Start Michelle Umlauf, 218-770-6518
  • Pelican Rapids Area Early Head Start  Bonnie Kuhlmann, 218-770-9231
  • Traverse County Early Head Start Loretta Kruger, 320-760-9196
  • Wadena County Early Head Start Julie Vry, 218-639-2923

Click below to view our most current:


Head Start Mission Statement

Head Start provides a supportive environment that encourages children, families, staff and communities to thrive by identifying strengths and opportunities, and developing strong partnerships to meet needs.

Standard of Conduct

All Staff, Consultants, and Volunteers will abide by these standards:

  • Respect and promote the unique identity of each child and family and refrain from stereotyping on the basis of gender, race, ethnicity, culture, religion, or disability.
  • Follow program confidentiality policies concerning information about children, families, and other staff members.
  • No child will be left alone or unsupervised while under their care.
  • They will use positive methods of child guidance and will not engage in corporal punishment, emotional or physical abuse, or humiliation. In addition, they will not employ methods of discipline that involve isolation, the use of food as punishment or reward, or the denial of basic needs.

Performance Standard 1304.52(h)(1)

Purpose of Program

Head Start promotes the school readiness of young children from low-income families through agencies in their local community. Head Start and Early Head Start programs support the comprehensive development of children from birth to age 5 in centers and in their own homes. Head Start services include early learning, health and family well-being.

Our goal is to provide each child with an opportunity to grow and develop in a safe and nurturing environment. The Head Start staff recognizes parents as the first and most important teachers of their children. Head Start provides children with activities that help them grow mentally, socially, emotionally, and physically. Services are offered to meet the special needs of children with disabilities.

Other Head Start Facts and Stats

Head Start Programs in the Minnesota Head Start Association offer the following information on the Head Start program:

  • Most children enrolled in the program come from families with household incomes below the federal poverty guidelines.
  • Without Head Start, low-income children would miss the opportunity to learn and grow in preschool and would be at much greater risk for academic and social difficulties later in life.
  • Classroom quality in Head Start is higher and more consistent, on the whole than in commercial or center-based child care preschools.
  • For every dollar invested in quality child development program, society saves at least $7 later on programs such as unemployment, criminal justice and child welfare.