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San Marcos Parent-Child Workshop Opening At Site Of Former Circle Of Friends Preschool

A local preschool, 60-years strong, is opening at a new location next week.

The San Marcos Parent-Child Workshop has moved off the San Marcos High School campus and is enrolling students right now for the fall.

If you visit the site this week, you’ll find a sandbox in a small construction zone, at least for another week. Parent volunteers are putting the finishing touches on the slightly remodeled facility off Puente in Santa Barbara.

“They moved every (grain of) sand, wood chip, the climbing structure, the boulders you see around the tree behind me,” said Suzy Granziera, director of the preschool program. “I’m just so impressed with this parent community. This is what it’s all about. It’s about families coming together for children in our community and these are the future leaders; these parents go off to be the presidents of the PTSA’s. They’re just a mighty but amazing community, with heart.”

The San Marcos Parent-Child Workshop is one of four popular educational co-ops in our area that include Starr King — known for its famous rummage sale — and Lou Grant in Carpinteria. Granziera said all are city college-sponsored programs and each incorporates parent-involvement, while infusing child development skills.

“Especially for parents trying to learn to be the best they can, you know, with their kids,” Michael Ibarra said. The father of twin 3-year-old girls is in his second school year at the workshop. “It’s great.”

The San Marcos program landed at the site formerly known as Circle of Friends on the grounds of the Grace Gathering Church. Some say the move off the high school campus was a blessing in disguise.

“They thought we were a teenage pregnancy center and so there was a stigma to that, that nobody really wanted to touch,” said board president Chail Norton.

Norton praised the new pastor and community at the church.

“They have the same philosophy as us: community, family, support system,” Norton said. “They’re coming from a faith-based side and we’re coming from either a parent-education side or … melting pot of culture.”

Once it’s installed, a new door will welcome children to their new home away from home, right after the Labor Day holiday weekend.

The San Marcos Parent-Child Workshop is located at 400 A Puente Dr. in Santa Barbara. For more information, log onto or call: (805) 964-8994.

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