Sanibel is widely known as that beautiful island with miles of white sand beaches, wonderful vacation pleasures and lots of friendly, active people. What’s not so much talked about is what the 6,000 island residents who call Sanibel their home have to say. They say you shouldn’t come here just to vacation — you should come here to live. It can be your home town. It’s a subtropical paradise with beauty and pleasure wherever you look and all the necessities you need for safety and comfort. It’s a self-governing city in Lee County with its own police, fire, water, and electricity. There are banks, a strong retail structure, many church denominations and a vibrant economy. To care for the kids there are highly rated schools to attend.
The Children’s Educational Center of the Islands (C.E.C.I) is a non-profit pre-school for island children from 12 months to 5 years. It was founded in 1974 by island parents. It’s organized on a coop basis with parents giving at least 20 hours a year in volunteer service. If the child is on scholarship that goes to 40 hours a year. There are two sessions – a morning session from 7:30 AM to 1:00 PM and an afternoon session that goes to 5:30 PM. The children are introduced to age appropriate classroom activities including music, arts and crafts, dance and story time. The associated costs will vary according to how many days and sessions are wanted. C.E.C.I is located at 350 Casa Ybel Road and can be reached by telephone at 239 472 4538 or go to www.childrenseducationcenter.org. There are other preschools on the island that are church related with child care programs – The Community Church, and the Congregational Church.
Elementary and Middle Schools
The Sanibel School is a K-8 public school that’s part of the Lee County School District. The school year starts in August and runs through May serving 326 island students through the eighth grade. It is rated highly by SchoolDigger and the Blue Ribbon program. It has consistently been a Blue Ribbon school of excellence making it one of the top 5% of schools nationally. There is an active PTA with widespread parent participation. And there are working/visiting relationships with local establishments such as the wildlife refuge, the conservation foundation, the shell club and the recreation center to help foster full student development. The Sanibel School is located at 3840 Sanibel-Captiva Road, next to the wildlife refuge and the recreation center. They can be reached by telephone at 239 472 1617 or go to their website.
There is no high school on the Sanibel or Captiva. Island students are transported to Fort Myers to attend one of the schools on the mainland. The Lee County School District is divided into zones and Sanibel/Captiva is in the south zone. The public high school in this zone that has an international baccalaureate program is Fort Myers High School. It’s a magnet school rated as one of the best public schools in the nation according to Newsweek Magazine. They are located at 2635 Cortez Boulevard, Fort Myers, FL 33901. They can be reached by telephone at 239 334 2167 or go to their website.
Teaching Our Children To Care
Sanibel is a sanctuary island that is a small town community of people who choose to live in harmony with nature. Over half of the island is set aside as sanctuary land for the protection of its wildlife and natural beauty. The city welcomes those who are attracted by these qualities of character and stewardship. The result is an island culture that can provide valuable direction for young minds and be an important part of their learning.