Leadership & Partnership

Memberships and Accreditation

  • Accredited by NAEYC, the National Association for the Education of Young Children, since 1989.
  • Members of NAREA, North American Reggio Emilia Alliance, since 2000.

  • Members of RIE, Resources for Infant Educarers, since 2005.


  • Members of the Westside Collaborative, along with Branches Atelier and New School West. We work closely together throughout the year, joining annually for professional development experiences.
  • Growing Place was instrumental in initiating the Santa Monica subsidy fund administered by Connections for Children. We accept children subsidized by the Alternative Payment Program. For more information contact, www.cfc-ca.org.
  • Our printed materials are done by the wonderful people at Smartpress

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Annual Reports




Pauline McPeake  Executive Director

Joined the Growing Place in 2004 and assumed the campus-director role at Marine Park in 2005. Her leadership contributes to the exemplary practices we execute for infants and toddlers. Her understanding of the role the environment plays in an early learning center, coupled with her strength in collaborating with parents led to the transformation of our courtyard as a place of inspiration and provides opportunities for interactive learning. Pauline assumed the role of Executive Director in 2011. She has earned a BA in Child Development and an M.Ed. from New York University, and serves as California Mentor Director. She has launched a series of TEDx Talks with The Westside Educators Collaborative and is part-time faculty at Santa Monica College in the ECE department and in UCLA Extension’s Education Department. She is committed to raising the visibility of the competencies of young children in our community.


Anita de la Puente  Ocean Park Campus Director

Joined the Growing Place in 1996 and assumed the role of Campus Director at the Ocean Park site in 2003.  Anita has her B.A. Degree in Child and Adolescent Development, and her Master’s Degree in Education. Anita values a collaborative preschool community among parents, teachers and children as a foundation to provide high quality educational experiences where young children develop positive dispositions toward learning for  academic success in life beyond preschool. Anita is a California Mentor Director, a member of the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC), The Association for Childhood Education International (ACEI), and the North American Reggio Emilia Alliance  (NAREA).

Halie Lieberman 1

Halie Lieberman  Marine Park Campus Director

Joined the Growing Place in 2017 and assumed the campus-director role at Marine Park. She received her master’s degree from Bank Street College in New York City in the Infant and Family Development and Early Intervention/Early Childhood Special and General Education program. She began her work in the field as an educator in an infant and toddler classroom at Bank Street Family Center, a nonprofit, inclusive childcare center, which offers Early Intervention services to infants and toddlers with developmental variations. Here she partnered with families and therapists to develop curriculum that attended to the needs of each child and sparked creativity and inquiry. She then collaborated with families as a Head Teacher in a Reggio Emilia inspired nursery school. In June 2016, she moved from New York City to Los Angeles and continued to support the development of young children as the Director of Curriculum and Parent Engagement at Sinai Akiba Early Childhood Center. Halie is committed to creating a community where every child and family is seen, heard and respected. She is devoted to an inclusive environment that values diversity, strengths-based practices and cultural responsiveness.

We feel honored to be the directors of Growing Place, on the forefront of unique and innovative child development centers that has served our community since 1985. We understand our responsibility to engage with our community in a meaningful way – to give back, appreciate and understand our impact.