responding to changing community needs
Mothers’ Club was founded in 1961 by Mara Moser, a Quaker who reached out to the loneliest and most overwhelmed mothers in northwest Pasadena and brought them together for friendship and mutual support. Mothers took turns caring for children to give parents quality time together.
"We wanted better lives for our families, but quickly realized that our children needed more than babysitting and parents wanted help to improve their education and parenting skills."
In 1962, Taka Nomura, the head teacher at Pacific Oaks Children’s School, was recruited to establish a developmentally appropriate early childhood program. She implemented a guiding principle we still use today: to provide a safe and nurturing environment that promotes the physical, social, emotional, and cognitive development of young children while responding to the needs of families.
At the same time, we established a partnership with Pasadena City College’s parent education department to meet the needs of mothers. PCC’s model for parent education – promoting healthy development in children, positive family relationships, parent self-esteem and self-confidence, and early childhood learning at home – continues to improve parenting skills for mothers in our program today.
A co-operative nursery school was established in 1970. Mothers with different socio-economic backgrounds participated in parenting classes and social activities together, laying the foundation for a deeply held Mothers’ Club value: each of us has something to learn and each of us has something to give. Mothers also began assisting once a week in the children’s program. We continue this practice today because parent engagemnet is critical to a child’s success in school.
The immigrant population, poverty and illiteracy soared in northwest Pasadena during the 1990s. Mothers’ Club added adult literacy to its services to address the needs of the rapidly changing community. The education level of a parent is one of the best predictors of a child’s future academic success, so adult education remains critical to our mission today.