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Chula Vista School Helps Children Break Cycle Of Domestic Violence

Chula Vista School Helps Children Break Domestic Violence Cycle
UCSD Study On Mi Escuelita
UCSD Study On Mi Escuelita
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A one of a kind preschool program in the South Bay is helping children who've been exposed to family violence.

It's called "Mi Escuelita," or "My Little School," but for safety reasons, the name is not displayed outside where children play. The school opened in 2006 with 40 children, and now serves nearly 72 kids with a full-time therapist.

Mi Escuelita is a partnership between the Chula Vista Elementary School District and South Bay Community Services.

Chula Vista has one of the highest recorded rates of domestic violence in the county.

"This is something that we can stop," said Patty Chavez of SBCS. "We are excited that at Mi Escuelita, we're not fixing later, we are intervening now. So we are breaking the cycle of violence, and we hope that we can become a model and help other schools and communities look at this model to help more children."

Valerie Brew, the director of the Child Well Being Department at SBCS, said domestic violence can cause various problems for children.

"When you have a 3, 4 or 5-year-old witnessing day-in and day-out domestic violence between their parents or family members, it causes problems with attachment, insecurity and thinking that the world is an unsafe place."

Last week, UC San Diego released a five-year study showing the early learning program has helped produce better reading and math scores when the children move on to elementary school. That makes it less likely they'll ever be placed in special education classes.

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