Head Start

Head Start has been improving the lives of low-income children and families in Santa Cruz County since 1965 through high-quality, comprehensive child development, and family support services. Head Start supports school readiness and promotes healthy families through delivery of education, health, and social services. Enrollment opportunities are available to children aged 3-5 years in our part-day or extended-day centers. These options are located throughout Santa Cruz County. Part day classes are offered August through May, and extended-day classes are offered August through June.

Head Start ensures that every child is ready to learn by offering families opportunities to: Develop new skills · Participate in decision-making · Volunteer · Set and meet family goals · Advocate for their child · Participate in family literacy activities · And much more!

Latest Updates:

$3 million Head Start/Early Head Start funds to expand programming

Learn about our latest grant, which will expand our half day program to full day programs at 10 of our centers, serving 146 families in the county. Parents interested in learning more and applying can call phone: (831) 688-3802 or (831) 724-3885 and see our eligibility guidelines below.

Enrollment and Eligibility 

Learn how to enroll your child in a nationally-renowned child development program!


Free services include:

Early childhood education options:

  • 3 ½ hour preschool age classes, either in the morning or afternoon, Tuesday-Friday, or
  • 6 hour preschool classes Tuesday-Friday

These options prepare children for school success by implementing a developmentally appropriate active learning curriculum that supports literacy and math skills - supports children’s home language - includes the I am Moving, I am Learning nutrition and physical activity curriculum - includes Second Step Social Emotional curriculum - offers the Raising a Reader Lending Library Program · Parent Education · Health and dental screening · Parent involvement · Social services · Nutrition and developmental assessments · Resources and referrals for families

Annual Report:

See our latest annual report including program highlights, statistics, parent, family and community engagement, financials and more!

Vew Head Start's 2016-2017 Annual Report

View Head Start's 2015-2016 Annual Report

View Head Start's 2014-2015 Annual Report Addendum

View Head Start's 2012-2013 Annual Report

View Head Start's 2011-2012 Annual Report

View Head Start's 2010-2011 Annual Report

Child and Family Development Programs
225 Westridge Drive
Watsonville, CA 95076