PACE 40th

PACE Head Start and Early Head Start provide family-centered child development programming for over 264 income-eligible families with children from birth to age 5 living in the Greater New Bedford area.

  • The program is at no cost to families who qualify. (see eligibility chart below)
  • Part and full-day center-based services are available Monday through Friday, part-year and year-round.

PACE Head Start Mission

The mission of PACE Head Start is to provide a family-centered child development program for eligible children in the Greater New Bedford area.

Families are empowered through a range of services, which include:

  • An early education experience that builds upon a child’s strengths and engages parents as partners.
  • Child care options that address the diverse needs of families.
  • Meaningful parent involvement opportunities.
  • Advocacy to overcome obstacles and improve quality of life.
  • Collaborations with community agencies.

Services are provided in an environment that promotes respect, fosters inclusion, and celebrates diversity among children, families, and staff.

Meet Sam, Head Start's Therapy Dog!

Recently, PACE Head Start has explored several ways to integrate more mental health support for children and their families. In February 2023, a new role was created when Sam, a golden-doodle therapy dog, joined the Head Start team.

With the support of a United Way of New Bedford grant, Sam attends school three days a week, greets children and families during their arrival and departure, and provides support in the classroom by joining the children in all kinds of activities throughout the day. Sam travels between the two preschool sites but spends most of his time at Head Start’s Smith Street location, where his owner, Kristine Silva, is the children’s services manager.

Read more about how Sam helps our children, parents, and staff!

Sam's Story

Application Process

To apply for services, please either download and fill out the online application and return it to ( or contact the program. 

For more information, general assistance, or to request the application in another language, please call the program and ask to speak with Family Services.


Children from birth to 5 years old meeting income criteria are eligible for the program.

Programs may enroll some children from families whose incomes are higher than the federal poverty level if they meet other eligibility requirements.

Families with circumstances such as homelessness, children in foster care, or receiving SNAP, TANF, or SSI may also qualify for services.

1 $13,590
2 $18,310
3 $23,030
4 $27,750
5 $32,470
6 $37,190
7 $41,910
8 $46,630

Head Start and Early Head Start Applications

Please fill out the application and send to the Director, Jill Fox,

Philosophy of Education

Our philosophy is an individualized approach to early childhood education, which builds upon a child’s strengths and promotes a positive self-image while guiding the child toward the development of School Readiness Skills.

Multicultural Policy

PACE Head Start respects the beliefs and practices of the various ethnic groups and cultures we serve.

We design our curriculum to include awareness and respect for the diversity among us. We neither accentuate nor exclude the leadership or beliefs of any one culture over another. We choose to celebrate the world around us in a way that children can understand and integrate into their own personal lives.


All families must complete a program application.

Children are prioritized for enrollment based on individual and family needs.

Ten percent of enrollment opportunities are reserved for children with disabilities; parents to children with disabilities are strongly encouraged to apply.

Contact Us

32 Madison Street,
New Bedford, MA 02740
Ph: (508) 999-1286
Fax: (508) 979-5080

247 Smith Street,
New Bedford, MA 02740
Ph: (508) 984-3557
Fax: (508) 984-3555

Program Director: Jill Fox

Jill Fox has an MS in Early Childhood Education and serves on the Massachusetts Head Start Association Board of Directors. Jill has been the program director at PACE since 2015.

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  • Supports parents as primary educators, nurturers, and advocates for their children.
  • Assures that every parent has an opportunity for a significant experience in Head Start.
  • Affirms the policy-making role of parents, which is the foundation of Head Start’s unique success.


  • New Bedford
  • Acushnet
  • Dartmouth
  • Fairhaven


  • Part-Day (September-Mid May): 8:30 AM - 12:30 PM
  • Dose and Duration (September- June): 8:30 AM - 2:30 PM
  • Full-Day (All year): 7:30 AM - 4:30 PM (currently)

*Full day will return to 7 AM - 5 PM once ratios are restored!