Working with our neighbors to build a strong community

Early Education

Early Roads to Success

Photo of child raising his hand in classIt’s been said that a community can be measured by how it treats its most vulnerable members. In the vibrant communities surrounding USC, the health, safety, and education of our children come first. Here, an array of university- and government-funded programs help set neighborhood kids on the right path, even before they can walk down it.

The University of Southern California School for Early Childhood Education (SECE) provides education and communal support to the children and families of Los Angeles. Since its inception in 1970, the program has operated numerous Head Start State Preschool childcare and development centers for children ages three to five, as well as home-based Early Head Start programs for infants. Understanding the holistic needs of children, USC offers services that reach beyond education to include parenting classes, social services, health and nutrition support, and mental-health counseling.

The university also welcomes the opportunity to initiate new programs such as “Kinder 2 College,” a pilot project that aims to pair boys in first through third grade with mentors who help to develop their reading skills.

At USC, we realize that an investment in children is an investment in the future of our community. From prenatal care to literacy tutoring, these early childhood programs put children on a solid path toward health, happiness, and success.

In the News

USC alumna Celia Ayala leads Los Angeles Universal Preschool (LAUP)

Celia Ayala strives to attain affordable early childhood education for LA County’s 4-year-olds. (Photo/courtesy of USC Rossier)

Celia Ayala strives to attain affordable early childhood education for LA County’s 4-year-olds. (Photo/courtesy of USC Rossier)

By now, most Angelenos have seen the commercials of accomplished adults reverse-aging into cute children as they tell you that preschool is not just for kids, and high-quality, early education is paramount to academic, professional and personal success in life.

The woman behind the message is Celia Ayala, ’76, PhD ’93 CEO of Los Angeles Universal Preschool (LAUP). With 38 years in the field of education, proven leadership ability and impressive credentials, Ayala is highly qualified to be the leading advocate for affordable early childhood education for LA County’s 4-year-olds.

And she knows firsthand how those early years set the stage for everything later in life.

Ayala attributes her love of learning and subsequent academic and professional successes to the highly literate environment in which she was raised in Zacatecas, Mexico, where she was surrounded by vibrant conversation and constant reading. Read more.