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Education a Family Affair at San Marcos Parent-Child Workshop

Santa Barbara family’s involvement with local preschool spans three generations

Meet the Kriech family. All six of Nancy and Charles Kriech’s children attended preschool at the San Marcos Parent-Child Workshop — and all six of them went on to earn bachelor’s degrees, or more.

The foundation the children received at SMPCW provided them with the tools necessary for success not only in education, but in life. They chose a co-op so they could be a part of their children’s educational experience, and because the school was reasonably priced — no small thing when putting six children through what was then referred to as “nursery school.”

“It was so wonderful,” Nancy Kriech said. “I was there with other parents and the children were learning so much. Our kids learned skills there that have gone with them to school and throughout their lives.”

A key element to the cooperative model is the parent education component. Parents gain knowledge about developmental milestones and are given tools to improve their own skills in communicating with their children.

“The adult night classes were more beneficial than I can even express,” Kriech said. “What I learned about child development was immeasurable and made a significant impact on how I interacted with my own family.”

Not only did all of the Kriech children go to SMPCW, some of the grandchildren have attended or are attending the school. Daughter Beth and her husband, Matt Vaughan, have four children, all of whom attended the workshop.

The children have been successful in their educational endeavors. Vanessa, 25, graduated from UC Irvine; Katy, 23, has her master’s degree from Kansas State; Chelsea, 21, graduated from Cal Poly SLO and is working on her master’s degree at Cal State Long Beach; and Nick, 19, is in his third year at UCSB and has been accepted into its master’s program in computer science.

“I chose SMPCW because I was looking for a play-based preschool experience for my children,” Beth Vaughan said. “I wanted them exposed to new friends, experiences and learning through play, and wanted them to explore on their own. I also really enjoyed the educational aspect with regard to the parent participation. I learned so much from being around more experienced parents and just hearing their stories of either triumphs or problems and how they dealt with both.”

— Joni Kelly represents the San Marcos Parent-Child Workshop

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