Early Education in Santa Monica: Kindergarten Nuestra Casita

Apr 28, 2022 3:24 p.m

by Ivy Chang

The early years of life are the best time to ensure a strong future for all Santa Monica children. Early education promotes equal opportunities and is essential for thriving families and communities. Whether children begin care as infants, toddlers, or preschoolers, Santa Monica has a wide range of early intervention programs with varying curriculums, hours, and costs.

Enriching and safe care should be available to all children, regardless of their family’s income, needs, race or ethnicity, or the languages ​​they speak. Connections for Children, our local childcare counseling and counseling agency, can help you find a program that will meet your needs and determine if you are eligible for financial assistance (connectionsforchildren.org or (310) 452-3325) .

Our communities are stronger when every child is healthy, safe and engaged in learning from an early age. Read on to learn about the passionate and diverse professionals who are doing this important work in Santa Monica. This is part 3 of a series.

Program name: Nursery Nuestra Casita

Program Director: Kathy Yanez

Age of the children cared for: toddlers to preschoolers

operating hours: 8:00 a.m. – 5:30 p.m., all year round

Short Story: After working as a preschool teacher and early childhood education educator for 24 years, Kathy Yanez jumped at the opportunity to open Nuestra Casita Nursery. Through her family childcare, she supports families by implementing her own approach to caring for and mentoring young children.

How did you decide to pursue a career in early childhood education?

Building a community and parental support during the first five years is key. We see the early years of life as an opportunity to instill skills and teach children to represent themselves. We work to build self-help skills from infancy because young children are so much more capable than most people think. Our children have developmentally appropriate tasks like opening their own lunch boxes and looking after their water bottles.

Aside from teaching them numbers and letters, we want kids to know how to say things like “I don’t like that you’re overexerting my body” or “I don’t want to play this game – it’s too rough”. We prepare our children to share their needs and to do things independently. Those years are important because if we don’t prepare them well, they won’t have the skills they need to thrive in elementary school and in the big world that is to come.

What is unique about your program’s approach to early childhood care and education?

We are passionate about promoting the Spanish language among young children. Research shows that encouraging curiosity and exploration works best for young children. That’s why we don’t teach Spanish. We speak and live the Spanish language while guiding the children through their everyday experiences. Our unique teaching approach combining Spanish immersion, child centered learning, constructivist and progressive philosophy is a great combination to help a child thrive in their early years.

Working in our outdoor classroom and connecting with nature are also central to our curriculum. We spend a lot of time in our gardens exploring all the elements that nature provides throughout the year.

What are some peculiarities of family childcare?

Family daycares can provide the home-from-home feeling that many parents are looking for. Smaller groups can also provide a better opportunity to support each individual child and family. In addition, the director can closely guide the staff and be more available to parents. With our smaller group, I can better observe where each child is, what their needs are, and what extra support they need. Family childcare providers also offer quality care at a lower tuition price than most center-based programs. The pandemic has shown that a smaller group can be safer than a large number of children.

Please contact Nuestra Casita Nursery directly for more information at nuestracasitanursery.com or (310) 912-5475.

For a list of licensed early childhood programs in Santa Monica, go to: santamonicacradletocareer.org/childcare

If you are a licensed ECE provider in Santa Monica and would like to share your story, email [email protected]

Past blog posts:

How early childhood is an investment in the future

3 reasons why early childhood in Santa Monica matters

ECE Blog Post #1: Beth Shir Shalom Early Childhood Center

ECE Blog Post #2: Palisades Preschool

Written by

Ivy Chang
Senior Management Analyst


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