Graciela Ceja’s QSLA Story
Ceja Family Child Care,
a QSLA participating provider
Looking around her neighborhood in South Central Los Angeles, Graciela Ceja felt inspired to help the children and families around her.
“I wanted to do something different for the kids. I wanted to be a better place, a safer place,” she says. With a degree in child development and years of experience in the early learning field, Graciela decided to open her own child care program–known to her neighborhood as Ceja Family Child Care.
High-quality early learning experiences set children up for success, not only in school, but in their careers and in life. In South Central Los Angeles, a long-standing Mexican-American community fighting against social and economic limitations, access to quality early learning programs for young children is limited, and too many children start off at a disadvantage because they enter school unprepared for learning in the years to follow.
Quality Start LA supports programs, like Graciela’s, to increase the quality of care so that the children in her community have access to high-quality early learning opportunities.
To give children a safe, early learning environment right in their neighborhood, Graciela has transformed her home into a high-quality preschool classroom and her backyard into a hands-on exploration center. She works closely with her Quality Start LA coach and regularly attends professional development workshops to continue improving the quality of her program.
Thanks to the supports offered through Quality Start LA, Graciela has not only learned and adopted cutting edge techniques for improving her classroom environment, but also how to better leverage technology in the classroom, such as utilizing quickbooks to help her manage the program’s finances. Graciela attributes her program’s excellence to the resources, supports, and coaching she receives through Quality Start LA.
Ceja Family Child Care offers full-time programming to provide working families the services they need. Because of the positive outcomes she’s had in her community, her program, is at capacity, with a long waiting list of families seeking quality care for their children. Eager to enroll more than the 12 children she currently serves, Graciela has invested in a new property nearby. She’s awaiting city permits to complete the renovations for a new preschool and hopes to open the door to thirty children and families.
“Kids have potential to become great people in society when we give them a play-based environment where they are able to express, play, and build, where they are free to be creative. That’s my pride.”