History of ECPC

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History of ECPC

October 1940: The Harding PTA establishes a Mothers Club to sponsor a nursery school. The WPA agrees to pay for a staff of 3 leaders and a maintenance man.
October 15, 1940: The El Cerrito Pre-School Cooperative, one of the first in California, opens in space provided by the Community Methodist Church. Enrollment is 24. Registration is $1.50 plus $1.50 per month for juice.
September 1942: El Cerrito is designated a Defense Area and the Center is set up as a Certified Defense Project. Children are given air-raid drills and an emergency food supply is on hand.
October 1942: For the first time since the school was organized, fathers are invited to a social event.
September 1943: Mothers now participate and must take a 6 week course in nursery school procedures before working at the school.
January 1945: Parents meet with an architect to discuss plans for a school building. After residents object to 2 other proposed sites, the City of El Cerrito leases the site at Moeser and Ashbury to the school in December 1945.
February 1, 1947 A dedication ceremony is held and work starts on construction of the school. (Now the kitchen and art areas). The Mother’s Club raises the $4500 needed through fairs, rummage sales, and other fund raisers. The construction is done by members working with Angelo Sposeto of Albany Cement Co.
May 1948: Plans are made for an addition, known as the “Blue Room” (now the music room). The addition is built primarily by the members, working with local contractor Ned Clyde.
September 1951: The Blue Room opens.
September 1978: Program changes from separate A.M. and P.M. pre-school programs to A.M. pre-school and P.M. extended day care. The school remains open from 7:30 A.M. to 6:00 P. M. to accommodate working parents.
1980 – 1983: The school is threatened with destruction to make way for senior housing.
1982: Fearing loss of the Moeser Lane site, the Day Care Program is moved to Mira Vista School. Pre-school Program stays, hoping the school can continue.
1983: Parents and neighbors working together are successful in saving the school.
1983: Both programs are reunited at the original site. The pre-school buildings are reinforced to make them earthquake safe.
1990: There is a celebration of the 50th year with a reunion party and an updated scrapbook.
2004: Beginning of the backyard conversion into a “Wildlife Habitat Garden”
2005: There is a 65th Anniversary Celebration and our first ECPC Silent Auction.
2005-2006: Additional Grants assisted in creating the “living roof garden” in the front yard.
September 2007: After many years of careful planning, the backyard play structure is finally a reality.