For nearly 30 years, Storyteller Children’s Center has assisted children and families in need throughout Santa Barbara County, California, providing early childhood education and a wide range of additional supportive services. The nonprofit began in 1988 in response to the growing issue of homelessness. Established as a half-day preschool center, it initially offered a safe, nurturing environment to which parents could entrust their children while working or searching for employment.
In 2000, Storyteller Children’s Center began offering full-day preschool at its 2115 State Street location. The center remained there until 2007, when it successfully raised $3.2 million to launch a second site at 2121 De La Vina and effectively doubled its enrollment capacity.
Partnership with Child Abuse Listening and Meditation
A year later, Storyteller partnered with Child Abuse Listening and Meditation (CALM) to develop the Model for School Readiness, an innovative framework of therapeutic practices and preschool interventions. The year 2008 also saw the beginning of Storyteller’s partnership with the University of California, Santa Barbara’s Gevirtz Graduate School of Education, which provides ongoing evaluations of the organization’s programs by tracking students’ cognitive-academic and social-emotional progress through third grade.
By 2010, data-based evidence indicated that Storyteller’s programs helped its young graduates to go on to become successful in kindergarten, and Storyteller and CALM shared their insights with participants at the national Zero to Three conference. In the following year, the two organizations joined THRIVE and First Five to host renowned child psychiatrist Joshua Sparrow for a series of professional development sessions. Storyteller later partnered with Dr. Sparrow’s national child development training center, Brazelton Touchpoints Center, to conduct additional educational sessions.
In 2014, the financial support of the Santa Barbara community allowed Storyteller Children’s Center to purchase its De La Vina location debt-free. The nonprofit celebrated its newly permanent home with a ribbon-cutting ceremony.