About KLA Schools of Walnut Creek
Candy Ortega, her husband, Roberto and a group of investors and educators opened the first KLA School in Miami, FL, in 2008. For Roberto and Candy, the desire to provide an inspiring curriculum, a nurturing environment, and high quality education to pre-school students across America was deeply rooted.
Roberto, KLA Schools CEO, inherited his passion for education from his grandfather who opened two schools of his own in South America. Candy, KLA Schools Educational Director, grew up in Argentina and Brazil and came to the US in 1994. She earned an Associate’s degree in Child Development and a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration, and began her educational career as a Pre-School Teacher at a Reggio Emilia inspired school.
Candy and Roberto have attended several Reggio Emilia conferences and study groups in the US and Internationally. Additionally, they have participated in the National Association for the Education of Young Children conference (NAEYC) in Chicago 2009, Anaheim 2011, Orlando 2011, and they have attended the 4th North American Reggio Emilia Alliance (NAREA) Summer Conference Boulder, Colorado 2008, the 6th NAREA Summer Conference Chicago, Illinois, 7th NAREA Summer Conference Pacific Grove, California, 3rd NAREA Winter Conference Mountain View, California and the 11th NAREA Summer Conference in Albuquerque, New Mexico among others.
The Development of Our Educational Approach
We researched many great philosophers and were most influenced by Jean Piaget’s Constructivist Theory and L. Vygotsky’s Socio-Constructivist Theory, as well as the works of John Dewey on the importance of bringing students’ past experiences into the classroom. The works of Jerome Bruner and Paulo Freire also amazed us. We share the belief that each person constructs his or her own intelligence through direct interaction with the environment and social groups.
We were then introduced to the theories of Loris Malaguzzi, founder of the infant-toddler centers in Reggio Emilia, Italy. He developed an approach to early childhood education that is today inspiring educators and children throughout the world. As a result, we traveled to Italy to visit these wonderful preschools. We returned truly inspired by the Reggio Emilia approach and passionate about spreading its wonders in our schools.
Why Early Childhood
We decided to conduct a worldwide study of the industry to determine which areas needed attention and investment in order to improve the quality of education and life. Our study concluded that through early childhood education we can have a positive impact on the future of our society. It is during this critical period that children learn the fundamental pillars that will allow them to be successful in their future educational and professional endeavors. Moreover, this study provided us with our philosophical inspirations.