ECFC Event

ECFC & San Diego Grantmakers Lunch & Site Visit – Mi Escuelita Therapeutic Preschool, October 18th

ECFC and San Diego Grantmakers hosted a joint Grantmakers Learning & Networking Lunch and a Site Visit Program on October 18th, 2019 in conjunction with the Grantmakers for Education annual conference in San Diego.


Following a networking lunch, the program provided an opportunity for a unique site visit to the Mi Escuelita Therapeutic Preschool in the Chula Vista School District of San Diego. Mi Escuelita is the only school of its kind in Southern California, designed especially for children ages 3-5 affected by domestic violence and abuse to help break the cycle of violence, help children and their families heal and begin the right path for school. 

Young children who have been exposed to violence and trauma experience a wide range of difficulties that affect their development, education and health (such as reduced verbal ability which can impede school readiness and academic outcomes in later grades).  

Mi Escuelita employs impactful strategies supporting children ages 3-5 and their families who have experienced violence and trauma: free all-day preschool with bilingual staff; full-time therapists in each classroom; senior volunteers in each classroom to provide intergenerational experiences; youth intervention and diversion programs for older siblings; wrap around services, counseling and crisis intervention for the whole family; and more.   A longitudinal study of Mi Escuelita children who were subsequently enrolled in the Chula Vista Elementary School District (CVESD) illustrated that across all years Mi Escuelita children performed equal to, and often better, than their peers on several different academic outcomes.  Learn more about the study outcomes.

Mi Escuelita is also a model for community-based public/private collaboration.  The preschool is operated by South Bay Community Services (SBCS), a community-based non-profit organization, on the campus of an elementary school within the Chula Vista Elementary School District.  It serves children referred by local law enforcement, Child Welfare Services, domestic violence programs, community-based organizations, and SBCS emergency shelter and transitional housing programs. The school is funded by First 5 San Diego, private donations, student sponsorships, and an annual fundraising gala.

Learning goals:

The Learning & Networking Lunch and Site Visit program will provide early childhood, education and health funders – as well as those interested in strengthening families in other ways–with an opportunity to:

  • Build relationships between local and national funders interested in the 
          intersections of early care and learning and long-term success for children
          and their families.
  • Explore the value of trauma informed care for young children and their
          families to put them on the right path for health, wellness and academic
  • Illustrate the intersections of early learning and care, education and other
          important outcomes for long term health and wellness for children and their

For more information about this site visit program, contact ECFC.