In 1992, The Learning Castle was founded by Terry Villanueva with a very simple idea in mind: that every child is different and every child deserves to be treated as an individual. With four portable classrooms, three teachers and 22 kindergarten students, The Learning Castle was off and running. By 1997, the student body had grown to over 100 students. Three new portable classrooms and a garden had been added to the campus along with numerous teachers, various enrichment programs, and an office with two administrators (who weren’t teachers). The grades serviced had grown to include the sixth grade.
In the fall of 1999, The Learning Castle invited 7th and 8th graders to attend; With an inaugural graduating class of only five students, The Learning Castle entered the middle-school world with the sincere desire to push back the temptation of high school and extend childhood for at least two more years.
In 2003, with enrollment topping 200 students, The Learning Castle expanded to a new campus on the opposite side of Cornishon Avenue, and a new school was born, La Cañada Preparatory. The original TLC campus became home to our youngest students while LCP housed fourth through the eighth grade.
In 2016, Ms. Villanueva, in conjunction with her son, Justin Whalin, opened The Sand Castle, a preschool serving two and three year olds. The preschool is located adjacent to La Cañada Preparatory and features a campus of over 5,000 square feet of indoor space and over 7,000 square feet of outdoor space.
Today, the combined enrollment for TSC, TLC and LCP has grown to 400 students with a faculty of over 60. Enrichment programs are offered in art, computers, dance, test prep and Spanish, and LCP offers interscholastic athletic opportunities in boys’ and girls’ tennis, boys’ flag football, girls’ volleyball, boys’ and girls’ basketball and boys’ and girls’ soccer. Extracurricular activities are offered in chess and student government.
But one thing has remained the same, for 25 years . . . every student is different and every student deserves to be treated as such.