June 14, 2022 1:11 PM
by Ivy Chang
The first years of life are the best time to ensure a strong future for all Santa Monica children. Access to high-quality early education advances equity and is essential for thriving families and communities. Read on to hear from local professionals on how and why they do this important work.
"Aside from teaching them numbers and letters, we want children to know how to say things like 'I don’t like that you’re pushing my body,' or 'I don’t want to play that game — it's too rough'. We prepare children to communicate their needs and do things on their own. These years are important because if we don’t prepare them well, they won’t have the skills they need to be successful in elementary school and the big world to come."
Kathy Yanez | Director of Nuestra Casita Nursery
"We want them to stand up for themselves and have the skills to navigate kindergarten. We’re teaching children that they’re not the only one in the room, that there are others to be contended with; also, how to be patient, wait, and care for others. We want them to look forward to being at our program, and we want them to know that if they’re sad, someone is here to help, and when they are happy there is someone to share their joy. We want to expand their world because, especially in light of the pandemic, children are not necessarily interacting with other children outside of school. Their first interactions with peers (and without their parents) are here."
Robin Maniscoff | Director of Beth Shir Shalom Early Childhood Center
"We have a scholarship program based on family size and income. One third of our families pay nothing, a third receive a partial scholarship, and a third pay full tuition. This model comes from the basic tenet of our school, which is that a diverse range of children learn best together, not in separate programs based on their parents’ income. Children benefit from being “in community” with others to develop attention to themselves and to those with whom they share the planet. Families too need the camaraderie in a supportive school community."
Laila Taslimi | Founder of Untitled No. 1
Click here for a complete list of licensed childcare providers in Santa Monica.
Senior Administrative Analyst