Head Start and Early Head Start End of Year Wrap-up

teacher and girl in school

As the school year wraps up for many families, we'd like to take a moment to celebrate how honored we are to support some of the tiniest members of our community — children served through the Encompass Head Start and Early Head Start programs.

Our Early Childhood Development programs include Early Head Start (ages 0-3), Head Start (ages 3-5), and Pre-K (age 5). We serve children and families in our community who are income-eligible, receive public assistance, lack stable housing, or are in foster care. While the children enrolled receive high-quality early education, one aspect that really sets these programs apart is the inclusion of comprehensive support services, such as regular health screenings and services performed by doctors, dentists, mental health providers, and others. These support services are central to Encompass' mission of health equity for all. We believe that every adult and child deserves the right to live a long, healthy life.

Support Services in Action 

Our Head Start staff supports families in their homes as well. A child in one of our programs failed his in-house vision screening test, and the staff member referred his family to their health provider for follow-up services. Upon further testing, this child was diagnosed with eye cancer. However, because they received preventive screening so early, the family was able to respond quickly and receive the necessary treatment so that their son's vision would not be permanently impacted. 

A Look Forward 

At the end of each academic year, our Early Childhood Development program teams come together to do a self-assessment and set goals for next year. One area of focus for us this year is cultivating equity in our policies and practices, especially as they relate to families experiencing housing instability or homelessness. Our Head Start teams collaborate closely with the Encompass IDEA Team in these efforts to ensure we are including all races, religions, and ethnicities in our support. (IDEA stands for Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Action.) You can learn more about our IDEA team by reading our previous post here. The team was previously named Racial Equity Workgroup.

Enroll Today

If you are pregnant or have a child under the age of 5 or know someone who could use our early childhood education services, submit an application today. Visit our program page, scroll to the bottom, and click on the application links. You can also access the handbook for more information about the services we offer, as well as eligibility for enrollment. 

Join the Team 

Do you have a passion for children? We are always looking for engaged staff to join our team. If you know anyone with an interest and/or a background in early childhood education, you can access our Encompass job openings here. Search for "Head Start" and apply today. We are actively recruiting for teachers and teacher assistants in Santa Cruz and Watsonville. We can't wait to meet you!

We wish all our Santa Cruz community families a successful end to the school year and a safe summer!