About Early Childhood Education


Judith Chase began Head Start as a summer pilot in Easton in 1965 under President Lyndon Johnson’s War on Poverty initiatives. Until 1981, Head Start of the Lehigh Valley was administered through Colonial Northampton Intermediate Unit #20, followed by CACLV (Community Action Committee of the Lehigh Valley). In 1981, Patricia W. Levin incorporated “Community Services for Children” as a platform for numerous early education programs, including Head Start.

Milestones include the following:

  • 1965 Began Head Start as summer program in Easton founded by Judith Chase
  • 1967 Expanded Head Start to Lehigh and Northampton Counties
  • 1972 Started home-based services to serve rural areas
  • 1982 Established TOT-INFO child care resource and referral service
  • 1985 Began to administer subsidized child care in Lehigh County
  • 1996 Initiated Early Head Start for children prenatal to 3
  • 1998 Named as PA’s Child Care Resource and Referral Developer for 15 NE PA counties
  • 2001 Moved into newly acquired and renovated “Donley Children’s Campus” in Allentown
  • 2003 Established Early Head Start/SafeStart Child Welfare Collaboration with Lehigh and Northampton Counties (“SafeStart”)
  • 2004 Opened innovative natural landscape play area “Playscape”
  • 2007 Added PreK Counts Preschool through state funding
  • 2008 Launched innovative Literacy/Technology Lab
  • 2011 Built new Donley Family Infant Center for the Early Head Start center-based program known as “SafeStart”
  • 2013 Expanded Regional Key STAR program to 18 counties of NE PA
  • 2014 Initiated Newton School focusing on STEM as a way of learning
  • 2015 Expanded “SafeStart” to second site for a total of 72 abused and neglected babies/toddlers