Mi Escuelita Therapeutic Preschool
Children who have been exposed to domestic violence are more likely than their peers to experience a wide range of difficulties that affect their development, education, and health. Whether or not children are physically abused, they are affected and often suffer emotional and psychological trauma from living in homes where violence occurs. They learn that violence is an effective way to resolve conflicts and problems. These children are at greater risk of substance abuse, failure in school, aggressive behavior or depression. All these factors affect the health of our community and economy.
Mi Escuelita: One of a kind
SBCS’s (formerly South Bay Community Services) Mi Escuelita Therapeutic Preschool is the only one of its kind in Southern California, designed especially for children affected by domestic violence and abuse to help break the cycle of violence, help children heal and begin the right path for school. Nearly half of the children are in foster care.
Mi Escuelita helps children ready for kindergarten for seamless integration into elementary school. Mi Escuelita graduates, who were previously two years behind academically, actually prove to outperform their peers at the elementary school level.
Mi Escuelita is a free, year-round, full-day preschool for students referred by Child Welfare Services, health centers, law enforcement or community-based programs. The preschool’s holistic approach supports both child and caregivers to help with behavior challenges and learning opportunities in and away from the classroom.
A SAFE PLACE TO HEAL, LEARN, & BECOME A CHILD AGAIN
Mi Escuelita Therapeutic Preschool provides specialized services for three to five-year-olds and their families, including:
- A FREE all-day preschool with bilingual staff
- A full-time therapist in each classroom
- Low student-to-staff ratio
- Senior volunteers in each classroom to provide intergenerational experiences
- Transportation assistance for families residing in SBCS’s emergency shelter
- Evidence-based Incredible Years and Houghton Mifflin PRE-K curricula
- Healthy development services & children’s mental health services
- Quality education activities in a safe, healthy environment
- Wrap around services for families
- Counseling and crisis intervention for the whole family
- Youth intervention and diversion programs for older siblings
Currently, there is availability for 96 children ages 3 to 5 years old. Children are referred to Mi Escuelita by local law enforcement, Child Welfare Services, domestic violence programs, various community-based organizations, and SBCS emergency shelter and transitional housing programs. For enrollment information please contact Mi Escuelita at (619) 420-0116
LONGITUDINAL STUDY OVERVIEW
A five-year evaluation study was conducted by UCSD to examine the overall effectiveness of Mi Escuelita on school readiness. The evaluation includes children who participated in the Mi Escuelita program from the fall of 2006 through the spring of 2012 and who were subsequently enrolled in the Chula Vista Elementary School District (CVESD). The study found that Mi Escuelita program demonstrates clear benefits to children who may otherwise fall quickly and unsparingly behind with regard to school readiness. For an overview of the study, click HERE to download.
Mi Escuelita is funded in part by First 5 San Diego, private donations, student sponsorships, and SBCS’ Annual Change Their Lives Gala.