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 Community Action Committee of the Lehigh Valley (CACLV). 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
  • 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 Pennsylvania’s Child Care Resource and Referral Developer for 15 Northeast Pennsylvania counties
  • 2001 Moved onto newly-acquired and renovated “Donley Children’s Campus” in Allentown
  • 2003 Established Early Head Start/SafeStart Child Welfare Collaboration with Lehigh and Northampton counties
  • 2004 Opened Playscape, an innovative, natural landscape play area
  • 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 STARS program to 18 counties of Northeast Pennsylvania
  • 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