Parents and guardians of preschoolers near Bath and W. Haley streets can rejoice, because Las Flores Preschool at the corner of the streets reopened its doors.
The preschool closed at the end of 2015 after the two portable classrooms were deemed beyond economical repair and not salvageable, unfit to conduct classes in. After years of renovation, the two portables have been replaced by a permanent modular classroom building.
“I was just thinking back, this is one of the first projects that came about when we first came on the board,” said Santa Barbara Unified School District board president Wendy Sims-Moten.
“To see it come to fruition in this wonderful light, and just to see how the kids are taking advantage of this…”
As Ms. Sims-Moten was speaking, kids were playing in the sandbox. One child even approached the swing, from where she sat, surveying the crowd of adults.
The building was built from materials that meet standards of Collaborative for High-Performance Schools and leadership in Energy and Environmental Design. With this new building, the school serves the families of almost 40 children, ranging from three to five years of age. One of the teachers at the preschool is Lucina Gamez, who has been a part of the district for almost 25 years. Ms. Gamez told the News-Press that there are two classes at the preschool: 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. and 12 p.m. to 3 p.m.
Studies have found that preschools aid working parents, especially mothers, who otherwise would have to either stay at home or seek childcare help. Additionally, researchers have also found that preschool is conducive to a child’s growth, helping kids develop their social and academic learning as well as social and emotional strength.
Las Flores seems to be aiming to help kids grow in such ways. In the window, a poster was visible at a child’s eye-level. The poster listed the things a reader can do when one’s angry, sad or scared.
The tips for when angry listed, “I can talk to an adult. I can practice deep breathing. I can count to 10. I can go for a walk.” The guide for being sad read, “I can talk to an adult. It is OK to cry. I can draw a happy picture. I can talk to a friend.” The tips for when scared were, “I can talk to an adult I trust. I can go to a safe place. I can sing a song. I can tell a friend.”
This is such a poster that even adults could benefit from. The poster and Las Flores Pre-School are located at 236 W. Haley St.