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By Veronica Jacuinde
Wasco Tribune 

Program provides child care and early education


Last updated 6/14/2022 at 8:20am | View PDF

Courtesy CAPSLO

Lupe Sanchez, area manager for south Kern County, said the Community Action Partnership provides quality comprehensive services that meet national Head Start standards. (Courtesy CAPSLO)

The Community Action Partnership of San Luis Obispo Migrant and Seasonal Head Start Program in Wasco provides high-quality, no-cost child care, early childhood education and preschool services to income-eligible families.

"The mission is to serve migrant children and families who are income-eligible in our service area with a comprehensive program to meet their educational, emotional, social, health, and nutritional needs," said Lupe Sanchez, area manager for south Kern County.

Staff members offer children and families love, acceptance, understanding and the opportunity to learn and experience success.

"Through community participation, staff development, and family involvement, our goal is to assist in providing opportunities now and for future generations," said Family Child Care Coordinator Yolanda Chavez.

CAPSLO is committed to eliminating the causes of poverty by empowering low-income individuals and families to achieve self-sufficiency through a wide array of community-based collaborations and programs.

"In Wasco, we fully offer a Migrant and Seasonal Head Start Program that supports these goals through our mission to provide quality comprehensive services to young children and their families," said Chavez.

These services include support around nutrition, health, mental health, education, family, parent involvement and children with disabilities.

Migrant agricultural working families are those that travel often through different counties and states following the crop seasons. They are uprooted from their homes, often earning minimum wage, and therefore are unable to afford safe child care that focuses on meeting educational goals.

"We are not only babysitters; we are educators that follow the national Head Start performance standards," said Sanchez.

There is a Migrant and Seasonal Head Start Program center in Wasco that serves 40 preschoolers.

Funded in 2002, the Wasco Las Rosas Migrant and Seasonal Head Start Program center has three teachers per 20 children. Each classroom has to have a qualified teacher with at least an associates degree in early childhood.

"We have six teachers at our Wasco center, all with college degrees. There is also a family service advocate who works with the families, so we have a team. In addition, our staff participates in many hours of training," said Chavez.

The second component of the program contracts with provider homes to provide childcare for infants and toddlers.

"We believe they should be in a home setting environment," said Sanchez.

Home providers must meet stringent state requirements. The providers must also have an educational background focused on early childhood education.

They are monitored closely, with regular visits from CAPSLO Family Childcare coordinators for training and evaluation.

Providers participate in monthly workshops, seminars and conferences for professional development growth.

"We also help them with educational materials and equipment to help create quality child care," said Sanchez.

In 2013, the Migrant and Seasonal Head Start Program was acknowledged by the National Head Start Association and received a Quality Initiative recognition that they have maintained up until now.

Courtesy CAPSLO

Family Child Care Coordinator Yolanda Chavez said the program empowers migrant seasonal farmworking families and their young children. (Courtesy CAPSLO)

'We are looked at as a leader in child care across the nation," said Chavez.

Parents are involved in many aspects of the program decisions and receive training.

"We empower them to be self-sufficient and are part of our regular meetings. We teach them that they are the first teachers of their children and show them how to advocate for their needs and education," said Sanchez. "If parents want to further their education, we connect them with English or GED classes, and we often time subsidize some of the costs."

The center and home providers are open 11 to 12 hours a day to meet the needs of the farm working migrant community.

For more information on enrollment or about the Wasco Las Rosas Center, call 661-758-4623.


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