In 2018, Mariposa Family Learning Center was founded by Austin City Lutherans as an expansion of their outreach to the neighbors of Southeast Austin.
Austin City Lutherans votes to expand to an Early Learning Initiative to be based in East Austin.
Location for the new early learning center is secured with a Memorandum of Understanding with the Montopolis Friendship Community Center.
Throughout 2018 and into 2019 ACL raised capital to invest in renovations for the building and salaries for the initial admin and teaching team.
Work begins to rehab the school building at Montopolis Friendship Community Center. Many from the Austin City Lutherans community worked to contribute financial support and volunteer labor to create a beautify space for children in Southeast Austin.
Sheila Pharis is hired as Executive Director of Mariposa Family Learning Center. Sheila is a passionate advocate for equality and high quality child care for all children. Her dedication to education and loving care is a guiding principle in Mariposa's curriculum and child care practices.
Open to Families
In early 2020, Mariposa set about establishing the child care practices that would set us apart from typical centers and a subsidized tuition model that would ensure that our center would be within reach of Montopolis and Southeast Austin families.
With our first team of teachers hired for our preschool classoom, Mariposa concentrated on developing best practices and high quality curriculum for our future families.
Our enrollment efforts - that had been underway since late 2019 - resulted in 4 families ready to send their little ones to us on our first day of operations - February 27th, 2020.
On March 13th Mariposa closed for what was thought to be temporary precautions against the Covid19 global pandemic that was starting to affect families in Austin. Once it became clear that the closure had no definite end the Mariposa Team got together to stay connected to our children and families.
Mariposa teachers begin Zoom circle times with families 2 times a week, we also put together activity packets that included materials, books, and games for families to do at home, we also filmed Youtube videos to encourage families to play and craft together.
Following CDC, Austin Public Health, and Travis County Health guidelines, Mariposa reopened our classroom to families who needed to get back to work to support their families and begin to recover from the economic impacts of the Covid19 pandemic. We continue to operate within all current guidelines and to take reasonable health precautions.
In August of 2020, the Center reopened to the families who stuck with us during the closure and to new families who needed accessible high-quality child care. In March of 2021 we started our first food and nutrition parent programming with a school garden.
Mariposa Meals is our family food and nutrition program. We held 3 gardening days and 2 information sessions to share with families our Food & Nutrition Guidelines for school lunches and snacks. We garden each week with the children and send home fresh produce twice each week.
Expansion - Fall 2021!
This summer the Mariposa Family Learning Center voted to take over the Montopolis Friendship Community Center building. We are going to use the space as offices, a teacher resource room, family programming space, and a community hall. We are working to open an infant classroom in December of 2021! See our ongoing Expansion Campaign here.
Adryana Aldeen is hired as a part time Director of Advancement for Mariposa Family Learning Center. Adryana comes from a long-term career in the Spanish speaking media and in community and cross-cultural service among the Latino community. She takes responsibility for managing Mariposa’s Strategic Initiatives as they relate to funding priorities.