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Meet Sherie Cigar-James of Little Seedlings Preschool in Inglewood

Today we’d like to introduce you to Sherie Cigar-James.

Sherie, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I am director and head teacher of Little Seedlings Preschool in Inglewood. After having children myself (I have five children ranging in age from 20 months to 11 years old) and seeing the lack of quality child care options in the L.A. area, I decided to partner with Wonderschool, a collection of boutique in-home early childhood programs, to pursue my dream of running my own school out of my home. Caring for children has always been a huge part of my life, and I have cared for toddlers and preschoolers for more than 21 years, including 11 years of experience working with toddlers with autism and social and emotional disorders. Before starting Little Seedlings, I worked in the fields of education and social services. After earning my Master’s degree in education leadership and instructional studies in 2010, I worked as a student teacher, substitute teacher, coach, and volunteer at various schools throughout L.A. I also spent eight years as a housing specialist for homeless clients throughout LA. Through these positions, I saw the huge disparities in resources, opportunities, and programming available within and outside my community, especially as it pertained to child care. When it came to starting my own school, I wanted to see something different. I saw the need to treat children as individuals and serve families holistically, and I wanted to form a school where you feel the love from the beginning. Little Seedlings is a small family preschool/daycare that caters to children six months to five years old. We provide hands-on learning opportunities and blend play based learning and academic learning. I pride myself on creating a unique learning environment. Our school has a community garden where we learn about where our food comes from and a large outdoor space where children can run and roam free. I believe that all children are gifts to be treasured and developed. Each child has a unique gift to share; it is up to us to discover, foster and develop those gifts. Other schools either had a long waiting list and or were unaffordable. I wanted to form a school that meets the needs of children and families of all ability levels. I work with special programs like Crystal Stairs and take pride in providing a loving, safe space for children. Our motto is: “where love stems early learning and development of the mind, body and soul.”

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
It has not always been a smooth road as I wanted make everything perfect, as working with children is an honor not to be taken lightly. We continue to make changes to best meet the needs of my students.

The licensing process also took time as well. This process was very necessary to meet California state standards. Fortunately, I worked with Wonderschool, which offers a community of teachers and directors to network with and guided me through the process. I am thankful for my support network of other school directors/teachers who share helpful information to aide in the process.

Please tell us about Little Seedlings Preschool.
We specialize in meeting each child with a holistic approach and promoting self-love and positive self-concepts. We encourage mastery of core concepts in learning, cognitive skills, social, emotional and physical progress, plus inspiring a love of learning and a thirst for knowledge. We understand that the early years are crucial years in a child’s development, and that these years lay the foundation for his/her journey as a person first, and student second. Our end goal is raising productive, well-adjusted human beings by fostering their uniqueness in a loving and nurturing environment. We believe that through self- guided play and a variety of hands-on experiences, children learn about themselves, their neighborhood and the world in which they live.

Do you look back particularly fondly on any memories from childhood?
My fondest memories are all the hands-on learning opportunities my mother created at home. We lived in South LA on 125th Street. All our neighbors were more than just neighbors, we grew up as family.

We always had something to do or somewhere to go. My mother was also a childcare provider for over 25 years and also worked from home. She provided care in a single-family home named Cigar family daycare. She was always creating projects for us. Reading books outside in the back yard. We played outside, we planted plants, played in dirt, and lived a very active lifestyle. Riding bikes, and skates along Venice beach was a favorite weekend past time. We lived in a neighborhood where everyone knew everyone. My family consisted of my mother, step father, and 2 younger siblings. We have a small close net family that did everything together. Although we didn’t have much we always had what we needed. We never wanted anything.

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  1. Demont

    June 12, 2017 at 18:39

    Ive known Sherie since high school and was literally one of the sweetest and smartest people that i knew in high amd was on the track team with her. I would trust her with my kids or anyone that needed to be cared for. Support her!

  2. Demont

    June 12, 2017 at 18:41

    *high school *and My corrections

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