We were unable to make this event, but they kindly sent us this release:
ALTADENA – Parents, children and representatives of Pasadena Unified School District (PUSD) and Los Angeles Universal Preschool (LAUP) joined Los Angeles County Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich on Nov. 19 to celebrate the opening of a preschool in Altadena that caters to the needs of autistic children.
At a ribbon-cutting ceremony held at Loma Alta Preschool, 3544 N. Canon Blvd., Antonovich praised LAUP and the school district for working together to create an early childhood education program that will meet the special needs of children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).“Not only will this site provide quality preschool services as we traditionally know it, but it will also address the core components of children with Autism Spectrum Disorder as a key method to early detection – a very critical step in helping children with this disability early on in their lives,” he said.
“With specially trained teachers, the class will address areas of impaired social interaction, communication and restricted or repetitive behavior, which are all critical strategies in working with children with disabilities.”
This preschool came about at the request of Antonovich for LAUP to invest money in its development to serve the special needs of a high-quality preschool education for children with ASD. The preschool is located in Antonovich’s Fifth Supervisoral District
The preschool serves 40 children and is unique in that it is a blended inclusion site that enables staff to meet the needs of eight children with autism, as well as 32 typically developing children. This preschool is the only one in the PUSD system to provide a 23-hour a week educational program for children with autism in a blended inclusion format with typically developing peers.
“We know that the autism population cannot be ignored, and what this preschool offers is a new beginning for what I hope is a model for many classrooms – both in the Pasadena area and beyond,” said PUSD Superintendent Edwin Diaz.
“This school site addresses a sense of duty – a duty that all children deserve a good, solid education,” Diaz said. “Each child must be given the head start in life that they deserve.”
This preschool is the result of an LAUP investment of $264,000 that was used to renovate a classroom to meet the students’ needs, as well as accommodate an activity room, teacher work room, renovation of outdoor playground and the purchase of educational material.
In addition, LAUP has committed to investing $152,000 annually through 2012 to provide a high-quality preschool program at this site, in partnership with the PUSD. The school district has pledged to continue this program beyond 2012, using preschool funding from the California Department of Education.
“This preschool marks a new beginning for the school district, for parents and more importantly, the children of the Pasadena area, especially those who need that specialized attention for a better life that lies ahead for them,” said Gary Mangiofico, CEO of LAUP. “Our goal is to make quality early childhood education available to all children in Los Angeles county, and today, we are one step closer to achieving our mission.”
To apply for this program for your child at Loma Alta Preschool, please call 626-396-5900.