Starr King Parent-Child Workshop will celebrate two milestones in October: its 70th year of operation in Santa Barbara, and the retirement of long-time assistant director, Suzanne Rebstock.

The free event, to be held noon-5 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 21, at Skofield Park, will include a potluck, music, memories and prizes.

“We are sincerely grateful for Suzanne Rebstock’s more than two decades of direct contributions to Starr King. She leaves an unretiring legacy of love and nurturing for the whole family,” said Tiffany and Justin Rizzo-Weaver, co-chairs of the Starr King Board of Directors

“It is so evident how much the daily efforts of staff and parents at Starr King — and the values of the Parent-Child Workshop environment — help foster significant development in the cognitive, emotional, interpersonal and leadership skills of children and families alike,” they said.

“We have personally benefited as our own outlook and knowledge base has grown for providing positive, developmentally informed guidance for our three children,” they said.

“The SBCC School of Extended Learning Parenting classes offered at Starr King and the Parent-Child Workshop model’s emphasis on community building — and especially on inclusivity — have created a thriving village of families whose diversity and shared interest in involved parenting have quietly shaped three generations of capable children and adults,” they said.

“Suzanne is well known for her exemplary professionalism and dedication,” said Yolanda Medina-Garcia, Starr King PCW executive director and principal educator.

“Suzanne has been a role model for parents, interns and staff on how to be present for and savor every opportunity to connect with children. Whether sharing the wonder of a growing seedling or a hatching egg, Suzanne’s passion for life inspired parents and children alike,” she said.

“Suzanne’s dedication to environmentally sound practices will have a lasting influence at Starr King and in the lives of the many children and adults whose lives she touched,” she said.

Rebstock’s retirement comes after 21 years as assistant director of the program. Before she became the second of only two assistant directors in Starr King’s history, she was a parent in the SBCC-affiliated parent-teaching preschool.

Founded in 1949 by Sarah Foot at the request of Santa Barbara Unitarian Society minister Berkeley Blake, Starr King was established to focus on child development and parent education.

Selmer O. Wake, director of the Santa Barbara Adult Education Program, was also instrumental in getting the school started. Foot served as the program’s first director; subsequently Rachel Johansen joined as the first assistant director.

Starr King Parent-Child Workshop was incorporated and organized as a nonsectarian, nonpartisan, nonprofit, diverse and inclusive group.

The school was named after Thomas Starr King, a Unitarian minister from Boston who was instrumental in keeping California from seceding from the Union during the Civil War.

Over its 70 academic years, Starr King has hosted some 2,450 families and has been a guiding light in early childhood education in Santa Barbara through the decades.

Offering a hands-on, play-based learning experience for preschool-aged children, Starr King’s child-development professionals and parents work cooperatively to inspire children’s capabilities.

With an emphasis on parent education, staff provide parents with tools for positive guidance. All parents contribute directly to the school’s daily operations, keeping tuition costs low and attracting a diverse population of parents who are actively involved in their children’s early learning.

Working and learning cooperatively prepares parents to be active participants in their children’s lives and communities.

Starr King alumni, who experienced the program as children or parents, are counted among prominent members of school volunteer groups, local NGOs, government boards, places of worship, philanthropic groups, and businesses.

For more, visit http://starrking-pcw.org/, call 805-966-1325, or email alumnifriends@starrking-pcw.org.

— Elise Dale for Starr King Parent-Child Workshop.