Welcome New Board Members!

New Members 18.png

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

A Message From The CEC's Program Director 5-1-18

Did You Know? 

As leaders in the early care and education community, CEC staff members participate in community activities that promote the improvement of programs for children and advocate for children and families. 


Last week, the CEC’s program directors attended the local child care resource and referral agency’s annual Policy Maker’s Breakfast in order to network with education and business leaders, as well as local and state politicians. At events like this, we receive updates about legislation and budget considerations that not only impact the early childhood profession but also teachers, education, family systems, and regulations, which we then share with our teachers. Being aware of social and community issues and engaging in advocacy are important in our field and are part of NAEYC accreditation criteria.

Ellen Veselack (Preschool Director), Lisa Cain-Chang (Director of Children’s Programs), Assemblyman Chris Holden, Allegra Inganni (School Age Director) and Talar Tchobanian (School Age Assistant Director) 

Ellen Veselack (Preschool Director), Lisa Cain-Chang (Director of Children’s Programs), Assemblyman Chris Holden, Allegra Inganni (School Age Director) and Talar Tchobanian (School Age Assistant Director) 

This year’s event celebrated the numerous contributions made by Assemblyman Chris Holden (District 41) to advance legislation that positively impacts children, families, and the community. Notably, he has authored and supported legislation that protects individuals with developmental disabilities, supports education and foster youth, and advocates for the homeless, as well as matters concerning employment and business development.  Assemblyman Holden’s district stretches from Pasadena to Upland and includes the communities of Altadena, Claremont, La Verne, Monrovia, Rancho Cucamonga, San Dimas, Sierra Madre, and South Pasadena. Prior to his election to the Assembly, Holden served 24 years as a Pasadena City Councilmember and Mayor. He was the youngest City Councilmember at age 28 and only the second African American to serve as Mayor.

Additional speakers at the event included CEC alum parent, Senator Anthony Portantino, Assemblyman Ed Chau, and Pasadena Mayor Terry Tornek.

Its Screen Free Week!


Each year we happily share information about the Campaign for a Commercial Free Childhood’s Screen Free Week. Research from organizations such as the American Academy of Pediatrics and the National Association for the Education of Young Children are informing us of just how concerning the overuse of screen media and imbedded advertising can detrimentally impact children’s health, cognitive development and socialization.

Join communities around the world as they unplug from ad-supported screens and rediscover the joys of the physical world. Learn more and find ways to celebrate at screenfree.org

Lisa Cain-Chang

A Message from the CEC's Program Director 4-3-18

Professional Development Day Closure

The Infant, Toddler and Preschool program will be closed for children on Friday, April 20th to allow the teachers and directors to attend the California Association for the Education of Young Children’s annual state conference in Pasadena. In addition, numerous staff will be attending the Leadership Day earlier in the week.

We look forward to an enriching learning experience as well the opportunity for our teachers to engage with others in the early childhood field by attending workshops on curriculum, health and safety, child development, leadership, advocacy, and more. CEC staff will be presenting several of these workshops. Professional development opportunities provide our staff with up-to-date research and information regarding best practices and serve as inspiration as we continue to innovate and advance our understanding and our daily work with children.

The CEC’s Philosophy…Did You Know?

The CEC’s philosophy of holistic care and learning is based on the life works of numerous theorists in the field of psychology and education. In order to share the heart of our approach and its value to children’s development, I will periodically provide information through this newsletter about theorists and the implications of their work in our daily practice. I hope this information will help you understand the theoretical foundations of our philosophy more fully. As always, Ellen, Erinn, Allegra and Talar are delighted to talk with you about child development and how the CEC’s approach, practices and curriculum enhance children’s learning and healthy psychological development.

Featured Theorist: Jean Piaget

Jean Piaget (1896 to 1980) was a Swiss developmental psychologist and philosopher. His studies of learning in young children led to the development of the constructivist theory of knowledge. This linking of human experience, behavior patterns, and learning has had a major impact on education theory. Read here for more details about his life and body of work.

Do you know or recognize the terms "conservation," "schemas," "sensorimotor," "preoperational," "concrete operational," "formal operations"? Read more.

Lisa Cain-Chang

The Spring Used Clothing & Toy Sale Is Here!

It is time for the Spring CEC Used Clothing, Toys, and Books Sale!

Clothing Sale Clothes.jpg

The CEC's Parent Council will host this opportunity to purchase donated children's clothing, toys and books for bargain prices.  For the previous 2016-2017 school year, 100% of the End-of-Year parties were funded by monies raised by this sale. What a great way to easily and efficiently drive this tradition. It is also a great way to clean out your closets!

Please bring your gently used children's clothes, shoes, maternity wear, toys and children's books to the Oak Grove site's Whale Room (multi-purpose room) or main office starting Monday, March 19th.  The last day for donation with be Mar. 30th.

(In support of the CEC vision of a commercial free childhood we will not be selling character licensed clothing or toys.)

Sale Dates:

• Thursday - Saturday, April 12, 13, and 14 at the Oak Grove Site (140 Foothill Blvd. La Canada)

Sale Times:

• Thursday and Friday: Early morning (7:00 am - 9:30 am) and late afternoon (4:15 pm - 5:45 pm)

• Saturday: 7:45 am - 12:00 pm (This is open to the public so tell your expecting friends and co-workers about this great chance to visit the CEC and stock up! We usually have a ton of newborn sizes.)

Parent Participation:

There are many great opportunities to earn Parent Participation hours by sorting the clothes, setting up for the sale, staffing during the sale hours and clean-up.