Blog: Latino Ed Beat

California Migrant Pre-K Program Makes Inroads

The Central California Migrant Head Start programs can serve as a model of how to effectively welcome Latino families, reports EdSource Today. Children are taught in Spanish and English.

Latino families are less likely to enroll their children in preschool programs than other ethnic groups, but some programs are making inroads. In 2011, the program became one of ten early childhood programs from across the country to be named a Head Start Center of Excellence by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

“We know from 20 years of research that a lot of Latino parents prefer to use home-based care, and that preschools appear to be excessively formal and sometimes not inviting institutions,” University of California, Berkeley education professor Bruce Fuller told the media outlet.

The story describes how 3- and 4-year old children listened to the story of the three little pigs in Spanish–but discussed the story in both English and Spanish. Classroom tools are labeled in both English and Spanish as well.

The program also recruits parents at venues as diverse as churches, flea markets and on farm job sites.

Berta Sanchez said her three-year-old daughter is doing well in the program.

“My daughter knows her ABCs, she knows the song about the ‘little star’ and she can write her name,” Sanchez told EdSource Today.

Other programs making inroads with Latino families and improving early learning opportunities include Abriendo Puertas, HIPPY (Home Instruction for Parents of Preschool Youngsters), and Avance.

Are school districts in your community involved in any similar efforts?