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La Canada Preschool
History & Vision
History & Vision
Learning Through Play
La Canada Preschool opened in 1949 and is one of the oldest preschools in Los Angeles County. With only three owner/directors in this history, Debbie Ficarra bought the school in 2003 from Mary Ellen Gilstrap, who trusted she would preserve the vision of that quality and affordable preschool would prevail.
The school has a deep rooted philosophy in children learning through play, and with a setting that is non-institutionalized and small. It is known as an early childhood educational center where children are valued for their individuality and creative spirit, where a child’s experience is more important than the curriculum.
Setting Their Own Goals
Today that vision is alive and well, where wonder, curiosity, self discovery, problem solving, interactions, exploration and play are valued above all else. At La Canada Preschool we believe children learn best when they make their own choices and set their own goals.
As the old saying goes, “Experience is not only the best teacher, it is the only teacher.” Our flexibility and willingness to follow a child’s lead will allow remarkable things to happen, if we let them.
Meet Our Staff
Debbie Ficarra, Director
Hugo Ficarra, Assistant Director
Cindy is returning to us at La Canada Preschool, where she was a teacher from 2000-2005. After raising to beautiful children, Cindy wanted to reenter the world of education and we could nor be happier. Approachable, happy and energetic, Cindy has an attunement for each child she works with. Cindy and her husband Kevin live in Glendale, with their dog Jack. Cindy shaped our Pre-K/TK to be an arts focused classroom with an emphasis on social relationships and play.
Heather is our incredible TK/PreK teacher who comes to us with a wealth of experience and knowledge. She’s been in the early childhood classroom many years, with an emphasis on art, Reggio inspired projects, nature-based curriculum and learning to read through Zoo Phonics. She is the mother of four and has an incredibly patient and flexible way with the children. She blends play and academics and will inspire you to keep your children learning through play as long as possible.
As an early childhood educator for the past twenty years, Jackie brings to us as wealth of knowledge and education, having taught at University of Missouri and UCLA as a professor. Her overriding love for the classroom brings her to us and we are always thrilled to have Jackie on staff.
Miss Gloria comes to us with a BA in the social sciences and a wealth of knowledge from UCLA Extension and RIE. She is always in the yard and classroom helping children with play, art, and relationships. She is a calm and inventive teacher and we love when she arrives every day with a smile on her face.
Jenny is our teacher’s aide who is our newest although highly favored teaching among the staff. She is an awesome caregiver who helps children feel a sense of warm loving-kindness. She reads, holds, helps and offers support to our lead teachers and is another positive force in the yard. Jenny comes to use from UCLA where she studied for early childhood education.
Leah comes to us as a new-mom and seasoned caregiver, having studied at Pasadena Community College and more. She is a new mom and can be found in the nap room or assisting the PreK teachers in the afternoon and has a happy spirit. We love the happy energy Leah brings, she is calm and positive and always encourages the children to play and learn.
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