We've grown to meet the needs of Santa Barbara's families and children.
St. Vincent’s Early Childhood Education Center has opened an addition to its existing facility. The Center will now be officially licensed to care for and educate a total of 107 infants, toddlers, and preschoolers. The addition of 51 children to its current license of 56 will make St. Vincent’s Early Childhood Education Center one of the largest preschools in Santa Barbara County, providing high-quality, affordable childcare and age-appropriate learning opportunities. The much-anticipated opening is benefiting at-risk and low-income children and families living in St. Vincent’s Affordable Housing and in the Santa Barbara Community.
Within a week of their arrival in 1858, the Daughters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul established the first English-speaking school for the children of the pueblo of Santa Barbara. In 1917, responding to the needs of working mothers during World War I, the Sisters began one of the first childcare programs in California. For sixty years, St. Vincent’s Day Nursery took care of the children of the working poor in downtown Santa Barbara at the corner of what is now St. Vincent Avenue and West Canon Perdido Street.
True to the organization’s mission of serving low-income families, St. Vincent’s Early Childhood Education Center is open year-round, 7:30 am - 5:30 pm, offering working parents four separate development programs: infants beginning at six weeks, toddlers, preschoolers, and now Pre-K. According to Bonnie Patton, Director, St. Vincent’s Early Childhood Education Center: “Almost 40 percent of the children enrolled are receiving a scholarship from St. Vincent’s or other financial aid.” Thanks to a generous grant from the Wood-Claeyssens Foundation, a nutritious breakfast, a hot lunch, and an afternoon snack are prepared and served each day to all children attending the Center. Through the Orfalea Foundation, St. Vincent’s Early Childhood Education Center participates in the Outdoor Classroom Project to increase the quantity, quality, and benefit of the children’s outdoor experience and the Preschool Food Initiative to create new norms for food and physical activity.
St. Vincent’s Early Childhood Education Center is a candidate for accreditation through the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC). This recognition will ensure St. Vincent’s program of early education and childcare meets the highest national standards of excellence. Through First 5 Santa Barbara County, St. Vincent’s is participating in the Quality Rating and Improvement System (QRIS), which will give families the necessary tools for making the best decisions for their child’s early learning and care.
Many thanks to Jorge Martinez, HM Construction, Adam Enticknap, Allied Fence Company, Eddie Navarro Painting, Powerhouse Electric, Jaime’s Landscaping, Sherwin-Williams Floorcovering, MarBorg Industries, BigGreen Cleaning Company, Freedom Signs, Nargan Fire & Safety Company, the Santa Barbara Fire Department, Vincent Torres, Ron Andrade, the St. Vincent’s Early Childhood Education Center staff, and St. Vincent’s Maintenance Team for their dedicated efforts throughout the project.
Blessing of St. Vincent's Early Childhood Education Center