Little Flower Educational Child Care Center Closing
For the past 75 years, the Carmelite Sisters of the Most Sacred Heart of Los Angeles have had the privilege of serving God’s people at Little Flower Educational Child Care. These years have been an incredible gift.
Through its history, Little Flower has been met with various challenges and we the Carmelite Sisters have shifted our focus and reacted to these challenges in the best way we could. We moved campuses. We transitioned from a home for young girls to a grade school to a Child Care Center and more recently into Infant Care. No transition was entered into lightly and was always done after much research, discussion and prayer. That is why it is with heavy hearts that we have to share with you our most recent transition – Little Flower Educational Child Care will be shutting its Gate Street doors on August 31, 2017.
Over the past decade Little Flower has been faced with a number of challenges, most notably enrollment that has been declining at a steady pace. While we can’t pinpoint the exact cause, we believe the combination of both a lower birth rate following the recent recession and the implementation of “transitional kindergarten” as standard practice across both public and parochial school systems. In recent years, many of these schools have also added preschool classes as a way to recruit families at a younger age, creating more choices and more competition for our younger students.
The last few years have shown us that not only are we competing against more options than we were a few years prior, but that many of these programs were offering free or reduced-fee education to the students, a phenomenon we simply could not match at Little Flower and still maintain our high standards.
We have been aware of these changes for over a decade, and have been working diligently to find ways to meet our challenges. In fact the addition of Infant Care back in 2011 was one of our efforts to stem the enrollment decline. Additionally we consulted with both marketing and educational professionals started implementing a broad scope of marketing techniques to help with enrollment. Though we knew we could not offer free tuition, we doubled down on our fundraising efforts to secure more philanthropic dollars which allowed us to offer scholarships where applicable and to maintain a competitive tuition rate without large annual increases, despite the ever rising cost to keep the doors open. Yet even with our friend’s generous support, we could not compete with “free” tuition and were losing students.
As we worked to bolster enrollment and secure charitable donations, we took a hard look at our campus and discovered major remodeling needs in our buildings that have been serving our families for over 75 years. Again we met with numerous consultants and contractors to draw up a clear idea of the needs for maintenance and even the possibility for growth and transition. Unfortunately the reality of those numbers was staggering.
While these challenges require us to close Little Flower’s doors at the Gate Street campus, we the Carmelite Sisters remain committed to early child care programs. Our Hayden Child Care Center located in Duarte will remain open and in fact is nearly fully enrolled. And while we currently don’t have any plans, it is our sincere hope that we can open a new Child Care location sometime in the future.
Should you have any questions left unanswered, please don’t hesitate to contact the sisters at Little Flower. They will remain on-site until October 30, 2017 and can be reached at 323-221-9248.
We thank you for your prayers and understanding and please pray for our school families, staff and all our sisters who have served at Little Flower through the years. God reward you.