Santa Monica Observer - Community, Diversity, Sustainability and other Overused Words

City, SMC Build a Pre-School at Civic Center for Children of Staff and Friends

SMMUSD will not run the PreSchool, which will also teach SMC students


Carde Ten Architects

An architectural rendering of the 20,000 sq. ft. Santa Monica Early Childhood Lab School. Santa Monica College and the City of Santa Monica will hold a groundbreaking ceremony for the Lab School-which will be operated by the Growing Place-on Tuesday, March 13 from 10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. on its site at the corner of 4th Street and Civic Center Drive

Santa Monica College and the City of Santa Monica will soon conduct a groundbreaking ceremony for the Santa Monica Early Childhood Lab School.

It will take place on Tuesday, March 13 from 10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. on the site of the school-which has been subcontracted to the Growing Place-on the corner of 4th Street and Civic Center Drive in Downtown Santa Monica.

The preschool was somewhat controversial. The perception was it's primary purpose is to service the needs of City Staff, who by and large don't live in Santa Monica, and who hardly need another perk since they are already astonishingly well paid.

"The Lab School will serve the functions of an infant, toddler, and preschool center for up to 110 children-a minimum of 30 percent enrollment will be reserved for Santa Monica residents, and a minimum of 15 percent for low-income families," says a glowing City Press release.

"It also will be a setting for students in the renowned SMC Teacher Academy to fulfill their practicum requirements. SMC students will observe and document child development under the guidance of the college's distinguished faculty members. SMC became the first Southern California community college to get national accreditation for its Early Childhood Education (ECE) degrees, a distinction earned in 2017....."

The press release continues for about ten more paragraphs with Ted Winterer and others lauding it. The press release never addresses the question of whether supplying pre-school education is a City function. One would think the SMMUSD should run city schools, no?

"The discussions by Santa Monica City Council regarding the need for a preschool and childcare center in the Civic Center area date back to 1989. In 2001, the Civic Center Working Group identified the provision of a child development facility as a priority based on a survey of residents. The City Council identified the benefits of incorporating the proposed lab school into the Civic Center project. The plan was formally approved in 2012, when both the SMC Board of Trustees and the City Council approved an agreement between the two agencies to set in motion the construction of the Santa Monica Early Childhood Lab School within the Civic Center campus."

"Through a competitive process, the Growing Place was selected as the most qualified operator and collaborating partner. The Growing Place and SMC have had a collaborative relationship in the past; founder Ellen Khokha designed three Early Childhood/Education courses in Reggio-inspired practices now offered every semester at the college."


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