Monica Arellano‘s QSLA Story
Mexican-American Opportunity Foundation (MAOF),
a QSLA participating provider
What children experience in their first five years has ripple effects for the rest of their lives, as well as for the economy, safety, health, and well-being of our communities. Research shows that all children benefit from high-quality preschool, with low-income children and English language learners benefiting the most.
In Los Angeles County over a quarter of the nearly 800,000 children under the age of five live below the poverty line, and over half speak a language other than English at home.
Monica Arellano works as a program coach for the Mexican-American Opportunity Foundation, an agency focused on providing quality early learning and care programs to children in most need across Los Angeles. At the MAOF Telegraph Center, located in East Los Angeles, Monica supports early learning educators to give children a strong foundation for kindergarten and beyond.
Monica begins by helping the educators she supports identify their strengths, and set goals and benchmarks for improvement. She uses the Quality Start LA ratings as the base, and helps the educators understand the elements of quality they are working towards.
“That’s the beauty of assessments and numbers. It tells you where you are and then you can implement changes so that the kids receive high-quality early learning.”
But it’s not all about the numbers. Monica praises Quality Start LA for its focus on nurturing early educators on their journey to enhancing their best practices.
“Yes, [achieving high quality] is about the children, but it’s also about the educator. We can’t expect quality within our classrooms unless you, as a person, as a professional, are confident in your skills and abilities to work with children.”
She is impressed how much the center has improved because of Quality Start LA’s intentional approach to supporting educators. She says, “We can see that [the teachers] are excited that they are going back to school, learning more, and implementing what they are learning. They are more knowledgeable. These rich experiences impact children, and the children are more excited to learn.”
The teachers’ confidence and excitement is having an effect beyond the classroom, too. “When we’re meeting with parents and presenting all [of our quality improvement] achievements, it excites them also…little by little we are making changes with the community that we serve. Parents need a lot of that knowledge and information. Sometimes it’s hard for them to understand, in a nutshell, what we’re trying to do, but I see the teachers explain it so well.”
MAOF’s Telegraph Center is one of over 900 providers who are taking advantage of the services offered by Quality Start LA, to improve the quality of care they provide for LA County’s youngest learners. The quantifiable impact of Quality Start LA can be seen in the success of the early education workforce and the sustained improvement in the quality of the education they provide.
As Monica says, “I am so amazed at how much this center has improved in all aspects, environmental, the morale, teaching, and interaction with teachers…it all stems from the same foundation, which is Quality Start LA.”