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Meet Dori Sher of Linda Vista Children’s Center in Pasadena

Today we’d like to introduce you to Dori Sher.

Dori – we’d love for you to introduce us and our readers to the story of the incredible Linda Vista Children’s Center.

Linda Vista Children’s Center was established in 1966 as All Saints Children’s Center. Although originally located on the campus at All Saints Church in Pasadena – its namesake – we were formed as a non-sectarian, non-profit child development center serving infant through pre-kindergarten children.

In 2009, the Center was displaced as All Saints launched a capital campaign to renovate and expand the Church. As happens so often, the move turned into a surprising benefit. We were able to relocate to our existing space at PUSD’s former Linda Vista campus – a quiet neighborhood location surrounded by beautiful oak trees, and overlooking the Linda Vista park. We’re even situated directly across from the local library – allowing our children to visit regularly for story time, and for the older children to engage with the librarians and explore new books. Excited to embrace our new home, we voted in 2009 to rebrand ourselves as Linda Vista Children’s Center (LVCC), which is how we’ve been known now for nearly a decade.

With the significant scarcity of quality childcare at the preschool level, LVCC opens its doors not only to local families, but also to families who commute to work in the surrounding cities and want their children close. We take pride in offering a high quality, developmentally-appropriate program for all children; regardless of race, religion, national / ethnic origin, gender, sexual orientation, or socioeconomic status. In an effort to provide care for a broader range of families, we offer scholarship funding as needed, and have participated in programs like LAUP which offered subsidized enrollment for PreK children.

We’re proud to have “graduated” more than 1000 children from all over the Los Angeles basin over our 50-year history.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
With an insanely-supportive family base, 100% enrollment, and an incredibly-talented teaching staff, LVCC is grateful to have few things to complain about.

Our biggest challenge to date has been real estate. Property is a valuable, and scarce, commodity in the Pasadena area. Especially when you’re talking secure space for 75+ children, ample outdoor play areas, room for 5 classrooms, accessible to major freeways for commuters (while not being too close!), and appropriate zoning. There are many reasons there is a scarcity of quality childcare in the area; not the least of which is available real estate.

We were extremely lucky to secure the Linda Vista property during our 2009 transition. There was also a moment in 2015 when we thought we were again going to have to relocate, due to some potential investments in the PUSD Linda Vista site. Luckily, that issue resolved in our favor. We remain grateful for the support of our alumnae, current families, school district, and neighbors – all who continue to play an integral part in helping us retain the best possible space for our children to learn and grow.

Linda Vista Children’s Center – what should we know? What do you guys do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
Linda Vista Children’s Center (LVCC) is a non-sectarian, non-profit child development center. We operate under two licenses – infant/toddler and preschool – enabling us to provide care and education for children from six weeks old through Pre-Kindergarten. We specialize in awesome kids! Helping them learn, grow, and thrive during these critical preschool years.

What makes us different? There are so many things! We’d have to start with our staff. Our teaching staff averages 10+ years of tenure with LVCC, and is the cornerstone of our Center. The more experienced teachers bring stability and knowledge to the team, while the younger teachers balance that experience with fresh ideas and new perspectives. Together, they create an environment where each child can develop socially, emotionally, physically, and intellectually. We insist on keeping ratios low so children get more quality time with these exceptional teachers. Low ratios! That would be another key differentiator for LVCC.

Another thing that sets us apart is our phenomenal community of families. We recognize that no child development center is a substitute for family. However, we strive to provide care for children, in partnership with their parents, in a setting that is as comfortable and “homelike” as possible. The families at LVCC are integral to this effort. From multi-cultural potlucks, to holiday crafts, to gardening and upkeep, to critical fundraising, our LVCC families are present, hands-on, and supportive at every turn.

Finally, I think the school’s values set us apart. We value diversity, and welcome all families without regard to race, religion, national or ethnic origin, gender, sexual orientation, or socioeconomic status. We believe children grow best in a caring atmosphere, with a competent staff committed to providing love, support, and gentle but consistent discipline. We promote self-respect, respect for others, self-control, and appropriate expression of feelings and individualism. And of course, we value age-appropriate education through our indoor and outdoor classrooms; play-based activities; exposure to the arts; and interactions with community leaders, volunteers, and business partners (like the aquarium) who offer hands-on experiences for the children. We’re very proud of our values-based reputation, supported by the number of families who return year after year, and the number of family referrals we receive.

What is “success” or “successful” for you?
Wow. This is a tough one. There are so many definitions of success at Linda Vista. Of course, we strive to prepare our Pre-K children to not only excel at Kindergarten entry testing for any school, but also for the more stringent environment of the Kindergarten class. So, success is helping ensure that our children are accepted into whatever schools our families have their hearts set on, and that they easily transition. But success is so much more than that! Success is the squeals of delight when our 2yr olds pour milk into their cups for the first time without spilling. Success is having a child who was bullied at another school thrive, because he is fully embraced and accepted by our community. Success is having teachers who have been with us for 10+ years turn down competitive job offers because they feel needed and valued at our Center. Success is hearing a child who was hitting just the week before, communicate her frustrations to a classmate in words, and having them work together to find a solution. Success is having children run into school in the mornings because they are so excited to start another day at LVCC.

It’s very hard to sum up, but I guess success is the combination of a bunch of small things that, together, make for a community of happy, confident, caring, smart children.

Contact Info:

  • Address: 1259 Linda Vista Ave., Pasadena, CA 91103
    ENTRANCE ON BRYANT ST.
  • Website: www.lvcckids.org
  • Phone: 6264490985
  • Email: info@lvcckids.org

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