A Brief History

historic Beach School

Elin Vanderlip was the wife of Kelvin Vanderlip and daughter-in-law of Frank Vanderlip Sr. who was known as ‘the father of Palos Verdes’. In 1953, Elin informally started a preschool for her children along with a few neighborhood children, by offering up her family’s beach cottage in Abalone Cove. The site quickly grew to include children from all sections of the Peninsula whose parents shared a common attitude regarding early childhood education.

Portuguese Bend Nursery School was licensed by the State Department of Social Services in 1958. In 1963, the Vanderlip beach area was converted to a private beach club. Successful negotiations with developers resulted in permission for the school to continue the use of the facilities at Abalone Shore Club at no rental cost. In 1975, the County of Los Angeles purchased the property and the city of Rancho Palos Verdes (RPV) leased the area from them. Since 1988, the city of RPV has had jurisdiction over the area.

The organization and administration of PBNS are the responsibility of the parent-members. It is a non-profit organization, founded for the purpose of furnishing preschool education and guidance for children and their parents. It was established to provide a means of promoting and fostering a better understanding of parent-child relationships.


We believe in enriching parent-child relationships through professional guidance and shared experiences with other parents. Preschool should be an enjoyable, unpressured first school experience which can foster an enthusiasm for learning, leading to academic success in the future.

Our Teachers

PBNS is lead by two professionally trained and licensed teachers. The ‘Yellow Bird’ teacher guides the younger 3–4 year old children, while the ‘Red Bird’ teacher guides the 4–5 year olds. Through their dedication, our teachers organize the curriculum, work with the parents to meet goals, and provide creative class exercises.

Our teachers work with each child daily to prepare them for life’s little challenges. Sharing, obeying rules, and even sitting still can be very challenging for children. But these socialization skills and many more are taught in a very nurturing manner.


Sandy Holderman has been an educator for over 30 years, including her work in Special Education in the public school system. Sandy began her co-op experience with PBNS when her daughter became a Red Bird in 1985. Four years later, she was asked to interview for the position of Portuguese Bend Nursery School’s Yellow Bird Teacher, and has happily held this position since 1989.

In 1993, Sandy was asked to add Director to her title, to which she accepted and continues to enjoy to this day. Although Sandy has taught in “traditional” preschools, she feels that working in a parent-participation school offers a more rewarding professional and personal experience. Sandy has her certificate in Early Childhood Education and Administration from Cal State Dominguez Hills. She continues her ongoing education by attending workshops, lectures and participating in research in her field.

Sandy feels strongly in the theory that children learn best through PLAY. “I think that through play, offered in our safe, natural, nurturing environment, a child’s creativity, curiosity, language development, and social skills thrive.  The added benefit for the child is a sense of  self-pride, security, and independence.”

Teacher Sandy
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