The first five years of a child’s life are an essential period for their development, and providing access to high quality, nurturing and affordable early education is crucial. In Santa Cruz County, the Community Bridges Early Education Division has been a pillar of support for families seeking a quality, affordable program. We understand some of the challenges of balancing work and family life and hope we can support families in ways that can enhance your lives. With recent changes to the California State Preschool Program (CSPP), we are now even more accessible and affordable for local families
What is the Early Education Division?
The Community Bridges Early Education Division operates six centers throughout Santa Cruz County, offering nurturing, free, or affordable early education. The family fees are determined on a sliding scale based on income, making it accessible to a wide range of families. Additionally, free or low-cost care is available for families that qualify by income and are working, providing further support for those who need it. The program offers flexible schedules in our tuition-based program and full-day care to accommodate various schedules.
The recent changes to the California State Preschool Program (CSPP) have opened new opportunities for families. Families with incomes up to 15% over the State Median Index income threshold may qualify for full-day CSPP.
This means, for example, that a family of four making $10,857 or less per month is now eligible for free or low-cost services, with many families paying a maximum of around $75 per month. These changes ensure that financial barriers do not hinder children’s access to quality early education.
Additionally, every July, children who turn three on or before December 1 of the current year are eligible for CSPP services, extending access to more children. Families with a need for care due to work, English classes, college classes with vocational goals, or who are actively job-seeking may also qualify for the program.
Automatic qualifiers for CSPP programs, including recipients of WIC, CalFresh, CalWorks, or children with an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) or Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP), are given priority access to CSPP.
Community Bridges also offers a tuition-based program in Ben Lomond serving infants, toddlers and preschool children. We accept HSD and Go Kids payments. All of our programs are part of Quality Counts Santa Cruz County and are inclusive and serve children with disabilities.
Developmental Excellence and Supportive Curriculum
The Community Bridges Early Education Division is committed to providing children with a strong foundation for healthy development and school readiness. Through a dynamic, play based program, we foster:
• A love of learning
• Literacy and numeracy skills
• Social and emotional development
• Curiosity, exploration, and creativity
• Cooperation and collaboration
• Problem-solving skills
• Respect for self, family, community, and the environment
This approach ensures that children not only acquire essential academic skills but also develop emotionally and socially, setting them up for success in the future.
Uniting Families and Teachers
The program recognizes that parents are the experts on their own children and aims to provide resources and opportunities for families to strengthen their parenting skills, share information, and build partnerships within the community. This collaborative approach ensures that parents are actively involved in their children’s education and well-being.
Each member of the teaching team at the Community Bridges Early Education Division has chosen their career, because of their passion for this age, and interest in each child’s learning. Many are bicultural/bilingual, are CPR and First Aid certified, trained in the health and safety practices, and obtain Child Development Permits issued by CA commission on Teacher Credentialing. With a commitment to ongoing professional development and Early Childhood Education units, the staff is dedicated to providing a nurturing and enriching environment for every child.
The Community Bridges Early Education Division program is a champion for families seeking affordable and robust early education in Santa Cruz County. With the recent changes to the California State Preschool Program, access to these invaluable services has become even more attainable, ensuring that every child in the community has the opportunity to develop and thrive in a supportive and enriching educational environment.
Join our team. Interested in a career working with children and families? We offer a competitive salary and package and are actively recruiting teachers in SLV and Santa Cruz. Visit communitybridges.org/eed for more information.
There are two sites in Watsonville, two in Santa Cruz, and two in the San Lorenzo Valley:
2667 East Lake Ave.
Nuevo Dia Center
135 Leibrandt Avenue
San Lorenzo Valley
Redwood Mountain Center
7103 Highway 9