Sunday, June 23, 2024

Migrant Head Start Program Reaches Out To Latino Children


A new Head Start program in California is reaching out to migrant children, who statistically enroll in early education programs at a lower rate than their peers.

Through bilingual and interactive education, the Hughson Center aims at academically preparing migrant children for elementary school in Hughson, a small agricultural community nine miles southwest of Modesto, California.

“Exposure to preschool is essential if these kids are going to be able to start kindergarten on par with middle-class white kids,” said Bruce Fuller, a University of California, Berkeley education professor, who has spent years studying early education issues in the Latino community.

To qualify for the center’s free services, families must earn at least half of their income from agricultural work, have moved at least once in the last two years and have a yearly income below the federal poverty line of $23,550 for a family of four.

The center’s services fill a substantial demand for early education programs in California, where Head Start programs now currently serve only about 60% of eligible children, according to the California Head Start Association.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services named the Central California Migrant Head Start program a Center of Excellence, which is awarded for “long-standing and consistent records of implementing exemplary services and demonstrating positive outcomes for children and families.”

“My [three-year-old] daughter knows her ABCs, she knows the song about the ‘little star’ and she can write her name,” says Berta Sanchez, whose two children have attended the full-day program at the Hughson center.

Ed Source