Merced County Office of Education

Head Start



Monica Garza, Head Start Director​​​

For more information call: (209) 381-5170

Who We Are

Head Start staff members have expertise in early childhood development, social services, health, parent education, nutrition and other diverse disciplines. In partnership with parents and the community, we facilitate school readiness for children and empower parents. We strive to be leaders in child and family development by delivering the highest quality, comprehensive, seamless services, based on community needs.

What We Do

The Head Start Program provides a comprehensive child development program to children 0-5 years old from income eligible families and children with exceptional needs to prepare them intellectually, socially, emotionally, and physically for school and life. Head Start serves preschool aged children and their families. Early Head Start serves infants, toddlers, and a limited number of pregnant women. Our Centers

Child Development

Every child is provided with the highest quality child development program. Every enrolled child also receives the following benefits and services

  • assistance obtaining physical examination and necessary follow-up
  • assistance obtaining dental examination and necessary treatment
  • hearing and vision screening and follow-up
  • developmental skills screening and individualized educational program
  • supplemental daily nutrition


Head Start embraces a comprehensive vision of the health of children and families. This vision supports wellness by encouraging practices that prevent, identify, treat, and reduce the impact of health problems on Head Start families and children. The health program includes physical, dental, nutritional, and mental health services.

Family and Community Partnerships

Head Start works with parents and a wide variety of agencies to assist parents to build skills, abilities and talents that foster healthy and self-sufficient families. Head Start also establishes ongoing collaborative partnerships with community organizations to make it easier for children and families to access services that are responsive to their needs.

Parent Education

Another important part of the program is parent education. A wide variety of training and educational opportunities are available for parents. Training topics are provided to meet the needs of families and include such subjects as nutrition, first aid, parenting and self-sufficiency skills.

Children with Exceptional Needs

Children with exceptional needs receive a full range of Head Start services in addition to special education through partial and full inclusion models in the most natural setting.

Service Models

Each year more than 1,157 infants, toddlers, and preschoolers are enrolled in one of four service options: part-day preschool (3.5 hours, school day preschool (6.5 hours), full-day programs (10 hours), family child care and home-based services and in partnerships with childcare centers. Up to ten enrollment spaces are available to pregnant women.


Updated: 6/22/2021​