La Playa Preschool Celebrates 75 Years

It was a bright afternoon at the Stone House at Lindberg Park, with just enough breeze to keep the balloons bouncing and the streamers fluttering. April 29, 2023 marked the 75th Anniversary of the La Playa Preschool Co-op, and a crowd of all ages was gathered on the lawn. 

In the midst of the face painting, tricycle course and chocolate fountain, La Playa’s current President Tamara Johnson took a moment to offer remarks that reflected La Playa’s long history and unique status in Culver City. 

“What began as a group of six parents gathering to share child care at an empty lot on Kelmore Avenue in 1948 has grown into the co-op we are today.  La Playa Preschool moved in 1953, with the help of co-op parent Phoebe Caliozza and freshly-minted Parks, Recreation and Community Services Director Syd Kronenthal, to the Stone House. Kronenethal returned to every La Playa anniversary celebration and spoke about how proud he was to see something he had helped begin thrive and flourish in the decades since.”  

Johnson noted that the community support La Playa gave to Culver City was far more than parent education and child care. “We’ve done a lot to take care of the Stone House – How many times have e painted this building?  La Playa parents also raised $20,000 to renovate the kitchen, and donated those funds to the city for the work to be done; it looks very HGTV now.” 

Mayor Albert Vera, Jr. was present to offer a Proclamation from the City, honoring the co-op and its many achievements. 

Johnson noted “La Playa is a cornerstone of Culver City’s history; more than a preschool. As a non-profit, we have a mission to help, and our extensive parent education program has recently offered topics such as Kindergarten readiness, honoring diversity and family heritage, and help with getting the kids to bed. We work with the Red Cross on CPR training,  and with the Julian Dixon Library on reading skills. At the heart of its success, are all the people here.” 

While it was noted that La Playa was awarded “Best Private School in Culver City,” the real proof of the excellence of the program was the generational return. Children who attended here grew up to be parents who sent their children to La Playa. Stories of several families in the crowd told of multiple generations of La Playa kids. Nothing could be a higher standard, or a better reflection of the co-op. 

 “We have a mission to help kids and the ones who love them,” Johnson concluded,  “We help to raise better and kinder people, and that shapes our community in many ways.”   

Judith Martin-Straw

The Actors' Gang