Welcome To La Escuelita

A Letter from our Founders

September 2017

Walking into our new space this month felt strangely foreign. With our ever-persistent real estate agent, we spent years looking for our ideal space, eventually determining it just did not exist. More space, a yard or adjacent play space, an indoor play space, a teacher room, a kitchen, a parent lounge...we searched and searched and never thought we would find it. Until over a decade later we did. Yet when we walked into the "new" La Escuelita, like drifting off into a dream, it was hard to feel like it was real. It was hard to feel like it was, in fact, La Escuelita. That is, until the Executive Director, Kelley Grant, began her talk to prospective parents. Then, suddenly, like a wave of déjà vu, it all felt known. It felt like La Escuelita.

In the fall of 2003, we combined our backgrounds in early childhood education and bilingual speech-language pathology to create a dual language school that respects individual child development and implements a primarily play-based curriculum but also incorporates teacher-directed activities. We both wanted to build a community of families from diverse backgrounds, so we decided that La Escuelita would use a portion of its revenue to offer tuition reduction for families who could otherwise not afford to attend. In thinking about what we wanted for our own children in a preschool, these primary goals formed the three core values of La Escuelita, the core values that stand today and continue to guide La Escuelita in its mission.

Sixteen years and four siblings later, Jack and Dora remain close friends, and our first graduates are heading off to college. Families continue to reach out and tell us about how their La Escuelita experience shaped their children’s lives. One parent wrote to tell us about how high her daughter scored on her Spanish proficiency exam this year. Another laughed at how his son could, unbeknownst to his opponents, understand all the calls they made in Spanish at his baseball games. Many come back to visit, some volunteer as camp counsellors for our summer program. Many reach out to tell us how much they still, to this day, value the experience their children and their families had during those years at La Escuelita.

While parents have continually exuded positive feedback about their experiences at La Escuelita, the one criticism we heard again and again, and a factor that may have impeded some families from partaking in our wonderful school, was our space. Being located in the not-so-well-lit basement of the church was a drawback for parents and staff alike. We are so excited to have found our new and improved space at St. Michael’s Church on 99th Street. Our Board of Directors, current families and graduate families worked tirelessly to ensure we could design the space of our dreams, with windows and lots of natural light, with open spaces for children to have indoor movement, and with an adjacent outdoor space for students to move and play in our own backyard. It has been a long time in the making. We are incredibly grateful for the "new La Escuelita", a space where everything is as we would want it, while sharing the same core values, incredible community, and the heart of the La Escuelita as we founded it all those years ago.

We are so grateful for the education La Escuelita provided to our own children, and to hundreds of other graduates. We are thrilled that you are considering giving your children the gift of bilingualism. La Escuelita is a community like no other, a perfect place for children to learn, play, explore and grow.

Welcome to the La Escuelita family!

Sincerely,

Jennifer Friedman and Jennifer Woodruff

co-founders of La Escuelita