Philosophy & History
La Puerta de los Niños, a full-time, non-profit child-centered organization, was established in August, 1971 by several women from the Unitarian Church. Their intention was to provide an excellent childcare experience for their children as well as for children for varying economic and ethnic backgrounds. While the Unitarian Church no longer operates La Puerta, a Board of Directors, comprised of parents whose children attend La Puerta, and staff work with the Director both to continue the founders’ original goals and to establish new Center policy.
In keeping with La Puerta’s goals toward excellence in childcare, during the 1987-88 school year La Puerta staff members voluntarily underwent a comprehensive self-study process sponsored by the National Association for the Education of Young Children.
We feel it is important for parents to share in the growth and learning experiences of their children through frequent communication with the staff. Parent involvement in La Puerta is further encouraged in such areas as serving on the Board of Directors, participating in work days and building projects, participating in fund raisers, and contributing individual skills and talents in the development of our program.
Because we believe in a child-centered philosophy, each child is regarded as an individual and treated as such. Our basic goals include:
- Providing a loving, supportive, enriching creative and non-discriminating environment;
- Helping each child to be aware of himself as an individual and as a member of the group;
- Recognizing each child’s strengths and weaknesses;
- Providing experiences which allow the child to build on her strengths and grow in all areas at her own rate and according to her abilities;
- Helping each child to express his feelings about himself and others, and to find appropriate responses for feelings;
- Providing opportunities for each child to engage in problem solving;
- Allowing children to make decisions, plan activities and take responsibility for themselves and their actions;
- Providing opportunity for development of self-respect and respect for others;
- Encouraging individual differences;
- Providing care for low income children through cooperation with state agencies and contributions from the community;
- Maintaining communication with parents and encouraging parent involvement;
- Providing well-balanced, nutritious meals;
- Maintaining a healthy, safe, consistent and secure environment.
Each of La Puerta’s classrooms have areas essential for meeting all social/emotional, cognitive, and physical needs of our children in age-appropriate ways. We provide art, manipulatives for fine motor skills, areas for gross motor movement, dramatic play, blocks, science, music, sensory exploration and quiet spaces. Because we realize children learn in different ways, our curriculum incorporates developmentally appropriate practice and multiple intelligences. We provide opportunities for the children to view their community through field trip experiences. La Puerta serves children 18 months through five years old. Developmentally appropriate groupings are provided.