2018 Drive for Backpacks for the Homeless

Once again, we are supporting alumni parent, Ann Martin’s (aka Bussone), efforts to provide much needed personal care and comfort items to individuals experiencing homelessness in Pasadena. We would like to extend her invitation out to the CEC community to participate in this meaningful project. Please see below to read Ann's letter and view a full list of the items she is hoping to collect.

We will have boxes in the Oak Grove and Co-op offices, as well as in the Dolphin room for families to drop off donations. Thank you for paying it forward this holiday season!

Her message:

I invite you to join me in the SIXTH annual drive to provide holiday backpacks for the homeless in the Pasadena area.  Thank you so much to all of you who continue to participate and a warm welcome to those of you who are new. Every year I am so touched by the amazing generosity of my friends, colleagues and family!  We all have so much to be thankful for and I appreciate you all paying it forward by contributing something to those who survive on so little.

Thanks to your overwhelming generosity, last year we were able to distribute 45 backpacks and sleeping bags filled with necessities for homeless women and men in our community.  When we ran out, we had extra gift cards that we were able to hand out so nobody left empty-handed. Your contributions really make a difference. Sadly, the problem of homelessness continues to grow.  With rents soaring, we are seeing many more seniors and families being displaced. 

This year I have purchased 50 backpacks to fill with things that the homeless can use to make their lives a little better.  In an attempt to try to make this more convenient for you during this busy time of year I have put together a Wish List on Amazon of items we need.  You can just go to the link and pick out what you want to donate and order it online at 


Or if prefer to order online from another source you can have your donation shipped to my address at 525 N Michillinda Ave., Pasadena 91107.  If you enjoy getting out to the stores and shopping (99 cent store and Target are great options).  I am happy to come to your home or office to pick up any donations you wish to make. I plan to distribute the backpacks during the week of Christmas.  Suggested items are listed below.  Small denomination food gift cards to McDonalds are not available on Amazon, but are much appreciated, as are donated items of clothing!  Subway gift cards are available and you can buy purchase them at the above link.

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I want you all to know the impact you are having in the community!  I am so thankful to have such wonderful people like you in my life. Thank you for your consideration and, of course, no pressure to participate!

Love, Ann

With additional appreciation from Elyssa!

Needed Items 

  • Sweatshirts

  • T-shirts

  • Face towels

  • Underwear

  • Knit caps

  • Baseball caps

  • Socks

  • Paperback Books

  • Playing cards

  • Blankets (no aluminum blankets because they need to not stand out when sleeping)

  • Chapstick

  • Antibacterial ointment

  • Pre-paid phones

  • Energy bars

  • Nail clippers

  • Soap

  • Shampoo

  • Razors

  • Shaving cream

  • Combs

  • Brushes

  • Deodorant

  • Lotion

  • Gift certificates to Subway or McDonalds

  • Bus tokens

  • Toothbrushes (soft bristles)

  • Toothpaste

The Fall 2018 Used Clothing Sale is Here!


Do you have a growing pile of outgrown children's clothes in decent condition? Now that the weather is changing, are you finding that your child actually needs hoodies or a jacket? Then pencil the CEC Used Clothing Sale into your calendar!

The clothing sale has become a popular CEC tradition where donated children's clothing and shoes (infant sizes on up), as well as maternity wear, are sold for bargain prices of $1 (or $3 for exceptional items). 

Please bring your gently-used children's clothes and shoes, sorted by age (not gender), to the CEC starting Monday, November 19 through Tuesday, November 27. Items may be dropped off at the CEC Oak Grove or Co-Op offices or in the Whale Room near the stage.

Sale Dates:

• Thursday - Saturday, November 29, 30, and December 1 at the Oak Grove Site (140 Foothill Blvd. La Canada)

Sale Times:

• Thursday and Friday: Early morning (7:30 am - 9:30 am) and late afternoon (4:15 pm - 5:45 pm)

• Saturday: 8:00 am - 10:00 am (This is open to the public so invite all your friends and colleagues who are soon-to-be parents or have children!)

Parent Participation:

Earn parent hours by sorting clothes, doing pre-sale set up, staffing during the sale hours, and/or post-sale clean-up.

Welcome New Board Members!

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Each year, the CEC’s Board of Trustees approves new Board members, who are then presented to the general membership (CEC parents and employees) for confirmation. Most people vote through the proxy process. This voting process is a simple and extremely important moment for the CEC organization, since the CEC Board is responsible for the governance of the organization, ensuring its fiscal health, and remaining true to the CEC’s vision and mission. The members of our Board, led by CEC alum parent and newly-elected Board President Katie Fallin Kenyon, are a highly engaged, committed, and caring group, representing a broad range of professional skills and expertise.

New Board members were formally accepted by the CEC membership at the Annual Members’ Meeting last week. We enthusiastically welcome the following new members and look forward to the unique contribution they will each make in the coming three years:

  • Melanie Sauer

  • Ashaunta Anderson

To learn more about each of these members, brief bios are included here.

At the same time that we welcome new members, two Board members are departing after years of service. Each of the following people made an important, if not critical, contribution to the Board during their tenure.. We are honored to recognize the following Board members for their generous service to the CEC:

  • Annie Wang (2013- 2018), who contributed five years of  leadership as both a member and co-chair of the Governance Committee

  • Sandy Bordi (2017-2018), who provided a vital connection between the Parent Council and the Board of Trustees as Co-Chair of the CEC Parent Council.

A Message From the CEC's Preschool Program Director 5-8-18

Lev Vygotsky

Lev Vygotsky

Continuing with our ongoing series of developmental and learning theorists, I have asked Ellen Veselack, the CEC’s Preschool Director, to provide background and detail about Len Vygotsky. 

As we have been sharing, the CEC pulls from a variety of theorists to build our philosophy and practice. Lev Vygotsky, a Russian theorist in the late 19th and early 20th century, has been an very influential theorist for early educators. Two of his primary theories assist us in understanding and supporting young children’s development.

The first is the theory that children operate in a ‘zone of proximal development’ which is where they are in the process of learning a new skill. They are working on it and on a continuum moving towards mastery. Like climbing a ladder and moving from rung to rung, children move from one developmental rung to another. We can certainly watch this in children, whether they are infants working on rolling over or preschoolers mastering fine motor skills to write letters. Children  work in their zone of proximal development until they master their skill and begin working in their next zone.

Vygostky's other theory that is widely known and used in the early childhood field, including at the CEC, is the concept that all children need a peer or adult to help them move from their current zone of proximal development to mastery. He used the term ‘scaffolding’ to describe this phenomenon. Rather than directly teaching, the idea of scaffolding is that the peer or adult helps support the child through encouragement, provocations, questions, and modeling.

This scaffolding process  allows the developing child to more fully understand their own process, develop more fully, and truly come to mastery. The CEC’s play-based approach allows the teachers to more fully scaffold children’s learning as they work with children in small groups and individually. It is incredibly rewarding to watch children reach milestones and mastery and know they did it themselves!

Ellen Veselack
Preschool Director