Early Care & Education



Our Early Care and Education Vision

Our goal is to double the percentage of children that are fully prepared for kindergarten from just 25% today to 50% by 2025.



In 2014, United Way Monterey County and its partners conducted a county-wide needs assessment to determine the key issues that prevent residents from achieving prosperity. One of these barriers was access to quality and affordable child care.

  • In Monterey County, there are 10,352 licensed child care slots for the 32,410 children aged 0-5 years-old.
  • Family, Friends, and Neighbors (FFN) Early Childhood Educators - particularly in low-income communities - care for nearly 70 percent of children with working parents.
  • The Kindergarten Readiness Assessment determined that only 25% of children county-wide are kindergarten-ready.
  • 89% of children who ranked in the bottom 5% of the kindergarten readiness assessment are Hispanic/Latino. 70% of these children live below the Federal Poverty Level. 
  • In a recent survey of Monterey County child care providers, 100% of respondents indicated that they were operating at full capacity and had waiting lists.





Infographic of 25% of children are Kindergarten ready
The Kindergarten Readiness Assessment determined that only 25% of children County wide are kindergarten-ready.



One of the key barriers that prevents residents from achieving prosperity is access to quality and affordable child care.



Our Early Care and Education Strategies


Preschool Service Corps 2023 Cohort


Monterey County Preschool Service Corps

In partnership with local preschools, Monterey County Preschool Service Corps is offering tutoring activities to preschool children. The program's mission is to support kindergarten readiness by offering individualized opportunities for preschool children to develop language and literacy skills during their regular preschool day. 

Friends, Family, and Neighbors Early Childhood Educators (FFN)

FFNs are informal child care providers who have not had the opportunity or need to become licensed. They provide valuable services but do not have access to funding and technical assistance provided by the formal child care system. In Monterey County, there are just over 10,000 licensed child care openings for more than 38,000 children aged birth through five-years-old. Because of this gap, it is estimated that most child care is provided by FFN early childhood educators. UWMC is partnering with the City of Gonzales to inform FFN policies, strategies, and services. Our Gonzales partners are developing an FFN support network of licensed providers and early learning professionals to build the capacity of FFNs.

Two preschool kids with graduation hats on


2023 PSC Members at a Preschool Spruce Up





Preschool Spruce Up

The goal of Preschool Spruce Up is to ensure early learning environments are well-equipped to stimulate the social, emotional, and academic development of our youngest children by "sprucing up" playgrounds, classrooms, and campuses around the county. Improving school environments allows students to have safe and engaging places to play and learn, which is essential to the healthy development of children and adolescents. Play influences the development of fine and gross motor skills, language, socialization, personal awareness, emotional well-being, creativity, problem-solving, and learning ability.