Hope 4 Kids Preschool & Infant/Toddler Center

Location: 560 N. La Cumbre Rd.
Santa Barbara, CA 93110
Phone: 805-682-2300
Email: Hope4Kidspreschool@gmail.com
Website: www.hope4kidspreschool.org
Program Director: Cheri Diaz

Ages served: Birth through kindergarten
Enrollment capacity: 70
Hours of operation: M-Th: 7:30 a.m. – 5:30 p.m., F: 7:30 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Type: Private, Non-profit, Faith-related, Licensed, Suburban


Philosophy Statement

At Hope 4 Kids we believe that:

  • children learn best through play;
  • children’s work is their play;
  • lifelong lessons, relationships, skills, characteristics, beliefs, and strategies about life are developed in the early years through a child’s experiences with his or her environment, family, peers, leaders, community, school, nature, and play;
  • a child should be allowed to fully develop his or her own agenda for the day, facilitated by experienced, quality, and highly-educated staff committed to the child’s future;
  • a child’s chance at a healthy, positive, productive, creative future is directly related to how often he or she as a child was permitted to explore ideas outside the box, take risks, create without the fear of judgment, think for him/herself, freely move his/her body, encounter sensory experiences (i.e., going barefoot in the mud, singing in the rain, painting anything and everything, etc.,), use language in creative and unconventional ways, and develop meaningful relationships with all children and adults; and
  • it is critical for a child to know he or she is important, unconditionally loved, cared for, valued, and has a crucial place in this world that nobody else can fulfill.

At Hope 4 Kids, we believe in healthy eating and healthy living! We have an amazing snack menu that is derived from wholesome, nutritious, non-processed foods. We also use as many organic food products as possible! Families are asked to bring real utensils, cloth napkins, and provide lunches in reusable containers.

Our commitment to children and their future includes our commitment to their experiences outside. We refer to our outdoor areas in both our preschool center and our infant/toddler center as our “outdoor classrooms.” In our preschool center we spend about 8 of our 10-hour day outside. In our infant area we spend about 6 hours of our 10-hour day outside and in our toddler area we only come inside to nap…everything else happens outside! When it rains we are outside as much as possible conducting activities that celebrate the rain!

Our infant areas are engineered so that babies are able to observe the children in the toddler area and vice versa. Babies will benefit from observing older children and will experience a smoother transition into the toddler area because they are familiar with the environments, children, and staff. Our toddlers experience social development opportunities and gain self-confidence and self-worth as they realize they are being observed by younger children, a wonderful transition for them as they prepare to enter our preschool classrooms.

Our preschool classrooms are comprised of mixed-age groupings (most preschool classrooms have children ages 2 to 5 years). Younger children learn quickly by observing older children, while older children experience increased self-esteem, self-confidence, and self-awareness by mentoring younger children. Mixed-aged groupings also allows for primary care. A child generally has the same teacher throughout his or her experience in our infant/toddler program and then our preschool program.

Our families, our community, our schools, and our work places are all comprised of people of different ages. We believe that children must have early opportunities to build social and emotional skills to work and interact with people of all ages both in learning from and in mentoring others. These are invaluable skills that will provide tremendous benefits to children as they learn how to work with others in school, families, their communities, and life.

Our philosophy of caring for children is child-driven, caring for the whole child and based solely on each child’s unique and individual needs. Our commitment to children and their future includes our commitment to their experiences outside.


Special Center | Site Features

  • Mud pits and water streams for all ages including infants
  • Tower Gardens (first preschool in the world to have a commercial Tower Garden Farm
  • In-ground organic gardens
  • 19-ton sandbox for preschool children
  • Field trips to our field (we own 10 acres of land and take frequent nature walks)
  • Recycled tire climbing wall
  • Custom nature-based outdoor classrooms
  • Large outdoor space for infants and toddlers
  • Tree bridge for toddlers

Additional Info

“Nature-centered” means that we focus on spending time outside discovering, exploring, learning about, and loving nature. Our outdoor classroom offers an extensive array of curriculum activities. In fact, we’ve structured the environment so that everything we do inside can be done outside. We are forever grateful to Eric Nelson, the Outdoor Classroom Project, the Orfalea Foundation, First 5 Santa Barbara, and the Santa Barbara Foundation for their support as we were creating Hope 4 Kids in 2008.

Visionaries need advocates and people to believe in them. These foundations and leaders did this for us when dreaming about Hope 4 Kids. Now we serve 25 infants and toddlers plus 45 preschoolers in a high quality, nature-based outdoor classroom environment every day all year. Children are growing up to respect and love nature. Teachers are making healthier choices. Families are changing their habits. Together, we are growing a healthy community.

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