Migrant / Seasonal Head Start

Seasons of Growth, Years of Change

Easing the transition of farmworker families into our community… Encouraging the love of learning among the most vulnerable of our children.


Maria Castro
Migrant/Seasonal Head Start
(831) 466-5851

The Migrant/Seasonal Head Start program has provided childcare, social services, and parent workshops for nearly two decades. In 2001, their program size doubled and they now serve infants, toddlers, and preschoolers. Many of their new teachers and childcare providers are former fieldworkers: teaching is a new career and fulfillment of a lifelong dream for many.

In 2007, there was a modest expansion of the Central California Migrant/Seasonal Head Start program in Watsonville. A directly operated program now serves 170 farmworkers’ children who are cared for in close to 30 family childcare homes in Watsonville, from May until February. The Santa Cruz County Office of Education provides health, nutrition, and social services plus monthly parent workshops in a partnership with Santa Cruz County Parents Association, Inc.

Central California Migrant/Seasonal Head Start is a Joint Powers Agreement (JPA) between the County Offices of Education of StanislausMerced and Santa Cruz, that together with the Parent Policy Council governs the program.

Best Practices

The Central California Migrant/Seasonal Head Start Grantee based in Modesto reviews the programs in Watsonville to ensure the implementation of “best practices” and the Head Start Performance Standards. Monthly workshops and meetings are organized for both providers and parents on literacy, school readiness, bilingualism, and also basics such as nutrition, dental care, and disaster preparedness.

A Unique Program

Over half of Migrant/Seasonal Head Start children are taught and cared for in family childcare homes. Recently, the Federal Monitoring team made special mention of the creativity and language skills of the family childcare providers – a unique and popular setting for Migrant/Seasonal Head Start children in our county. This year the Federal Review team identified the family childcare homes environment as one of the strengths of the program.

A current challenge to our program is how to best support the acquisition of English among children who spend most of their day playing with other monolingual children.

The Grantee has developed a position statement, identified best strategies and collected resources to help teachers, providers and parents to tackle this issue. The Santa Cruz County Office of Education has collected and disseminated songs, rhymes, games, books, and a list of easy phrases in English to support our youngest English language learners to naturally acquire English.

The focus is on literacy!

Close to 700 Migrant/Seasonal Head Start children in Watsonville have benefited from creative collaborations with our local libraries.

An SCCOE-sponsored workshop brought Migrant/Seasonal Head Start parents together to learn about the benefits of talking and reading to very young children. They made inexpensive books to take home to their families.

The Federal Government has identified 13 educational indicators for all Head Start preschoolers. Five indicators focus on language and vocabulary, and seven focuses on developing an awareness of the alphabet, books, and print. The 13th indicator focuses on number concepts. Migrant/Seasonal Head Start is working closely with the Cabrillo College Early Childhood Department to specifically train teachers in observation and assessment skills.

National Accreditation

One third of local family childcare providers who contract with Migrant/Seasonal Head Start (PVUSD) have earned Accreditation status from the National Family Child Care Association (NAFCC). This stamp of approval reflects the excellent quality of environment and childcare offered by many of the Latina providers of our county.

National Accreditation is a two year process that includes trainings, observations, provider interviews, parent surveys and a final Validator visit to evaluate eligibility to be accredited.

Many of these same providers participated in a national Pilot Study in 1998 to help develop the NAFCC’s new Accreditation Standards. Congratulations to all Accredited Providers!

Child Development Associate (CDA) Professional Resource File Templates/Asociado en desarrollo infantil (CDA) plantillas para el archivo profesional de recursos

There are two versions, one that is best for electronic use, and the other is lined, making it work better for printing out and filling out by hand. Hay dos versiones, una que es mejor para uso electrónico, y la otra con rayas, lo que funciona mejor para imprimir y llenar a mano.

meet our team

Maria Castro
Migrant/Seasonal Head Start
(831) 466-5851

Sonia Cervantes
Project Coordinator
Migrant/Seasonal Head Start
(831) 466-5852

Rosario Navarro
Project Coordinator
Migrant/Seasonal Head Start
(831) 466-5853

Patricia Muñoz
Project Coordinator
Migrant/Seasonal Head Start
(831) 466-5854

Cynthia Peterson
Clerical Assistant
Migrant/Seasonal Head Start
(831) 466-5850

Educational Services Update – November 2022

The Educational Services department has been busy for the past month. We have been supporting quite a few schools and districts with professional learning opportunities, ...

Migrant / Seasonal Head Start Update – October 2022

Migrant Head Start is winding down its regular season of childcare which ends October 28th. They are currently recruiting for their Winter program. Last month the ...
parents and students in front of sea life mural

Migrant Head Start Families Visit Watsonville Library

Our Migrant Head Start families saunter off after a long day at work to explore the treasures of the Watsonville Library Children’s Room.