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Mi Escuelita Therapeutic Preschool

Children who have been exposed to domestic violence are more likely than their peers to experience a wide range of difficulties that affect their development, education and health. Whether or not children are physically abused, they are affected and often suffer emotional and psychological trauma from living in homes where violence occurs. They learn that violence is an effective way to resolve conflicts and problems. These children are at greater risk of substance abuse, failure in school, aggressive behavior or depression. All these factors affect the health of our community and economy. 

Mi Escuelita: One of a kind
South Bay Community Services’ (SBCS) Mi Escuelita Therapeutic Preschool is the only one of its kind in Southern California designed especially for children affected by domestic violence and abuse to help break the cycle of violence, help children heal and begin the right path for school. Mi Escuelita is funded in part by First 5 San Diego, private donations, student sponsorships and SBCS’ Annual Change Their Lives Gala.



Mi Escuelita Therapeutic Preschool provides specialized services for three to five year olds and their families, including:

  • A FREE all-day preschool with bilingual staff
  • Full-time therapist in each classroom
  • Low ratio
  • Senior volunteers in each classroom to provide intergenerational experiences
  • Transportation assistance for famlies residing in SBCS' emergency shelter
  • Evidence based Incredible Years and Houghton Mifflin PRE-K curricula
  • Healthy development services
  • Children's mental health
  • Quality education activities in a safe, healthy environment
  • Wrap around services for families
  • Counseling and crisis intervention for the whole family
  • Youth intervention and diversion programs for older siblings



Currently, there is availability for 72 children ages 3 to 5 years old. Children are referred to Mi Escuelita by local law enforcement, Child Welfare Services, domestic violence programs, various community based organizations and SBCS emergency shelter and transitional housing programs. 



Therapeutic, High Quality Early-Education Helps At-Risk Children Perform Better in School Than Their Peers.  

A five year evaluation study was conducted by UCSD to examine the overall effectiveness of Mi Escuelita on school readiness. The evaluation includes children who participated in the Mi Escuelita program from the fall of 2006 through the spring of 2012 and who were subsequently enrolled in the Chula Vista Elementary School District (CVESD).The study found that Mi Escuelita program demonstrates clear benefits to children who may otherwise fall quickly and unsparingly behind with regard to school readiness. For an overview of the study, click HERE to download. 

 * Graph from UCSD Longitudinal Study 2014