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A Message from the Director

“Two things cannot be in one place.
Where you tend a rose, my lad,
A thistle cannot grow.”
From the Secret Garden, By Francis Hodgson Burnett

A lifelong passion for children and education, coupled with a mothers instinct to be with her children is what led me to the Secret Garden. My journey was filled with opportunities to develop and share my commitment to childcare. I first came to Santa Cruz in 1981 after accepting a position as director of the local chapter of the Santa Cruz Special Olympics. After having my two sons, Tyler and Garret, in 1983 and 1984 (yes, you can get pregnant breast feeding), I felt compelled to have them with me while still contributing to the household income. It was during this time that I turned to my degree in early childhood education. I became a teacher at the Secret Garden, initially owned by Sylvia Gerbl, where I was able to work full time and could have both boys with me. After dedicating ten years to the program, I made the leap to purchase the school in 1995. I truly believed in the the excellent curriculum and high standards initially developed by Sylvia in 1977. I chose to carry on her philosophy that the healthiest way for a child to be nurtured and cared for is to let them be a child. More than 30 years later, I am proud to say we are still providing a rich environment where children can grow in a loving a safe environment.

The Secret Garden Too Infant Center and Preschool is dedicated to the rightness of childhood.

We will read the best of children’s literature
That it may speak to the inner child.

We will explore the wonder of the world.

We will explore and develop language skills, motor skills, motor skills, and thinking processes.

We will play and make sense of the world around us.

We will create.

We will celebrate!

We will love and accept one another.

Cathy Latorre

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