In a perfect world, ALL children would start school emotionally and socially ready to learn. They would feel loved and supported by their families and teachers and would be well-rested, fed and healthy. Children would have coping skills, impulse control and be ready to learn. They would become educated, well-adjusted adults and thriving members of our community, helping make Santa Barbara a happier and safer place to live.
Unfortunately, this is often not the case. Many children in our community are struggling with overwhelming obstacles such as inter-generational trauma, stress and poverty; substance abuse and/or domestic violence. Children that grow up with these stressors face many “adverse childhood experiences” (ACEs) that can affect their lifelong health and chances to thrive as adults.
With these strikes against the child, research shows that when he/she does start kindergarten, the child is already at a strong disadvantage. These negative compounding effects often lead to:
dropping out of school
halted social-emotional development
The cycle continues, leading to hardships for the child that often results in financial and social strains within the family and community. This can be attributed to a lack of support for the child academically as well as social-emotional development, which hinders kindergarten readiness. The good news is that Storyteller can change that outcome!
Storyteller reaches out to the under-served and vulnerable children and families in our city. We are able to work with the families and provide each child with the tools needed to start school socially and emotionally ready to learn. With this advantage, the child’s chance of academic success dramatically increases, and the likelihood of becoming a healthy, productive member of the community is greatly improved.
A community filled with healthy, happy, productive people becomes a vibrant community with a strong future.
HOW STORYTELLER WORKS
Storyteller is a therapeutic preschool that strives to support children and their families toward “Kindergarten Readiness.” Storyteller serves Santa Barbara’s poorest families, those living below or close to the poverty guideline and who also meet the Federal definition of homeless. It is this segment of our community that is the most at-risk and tends to have difficulty accessing and paying for quality care. These families also have social and emotional needs that exceed the capabilities of most preschool programs. We believe that without intervention and access to our high-quality therapeutic preschool program, these children would not be prepared to start kindergarten. Therefore, they have a higher chance of dropping out, thus perpetuating the cycle of poverty and dependence on social welfare.