Ivonne Elizondo and Gerardo Viera of Children’s Inc. work on crafts with three-year-olds Lily Poulin

Filling the need for child care in Hope

New program at Silver Creek Elementary aims to ease transition to kindergarten

Ivonne Elizondo and her husband Gerardo Viera have found a practical way to utilize an unused classroom at Silver Creek elementary.

With the growing demand for child care spaces in the region, the couple decided to launch Children’s Inc. this month. The new program caters to 16 children aged three to five, and offers a wide range of daily activities in English and Spanish including circle time, early literacy, songs, games, story time, arts and crafts.

“Our goal with this new child care centre at the school is to provide the children with learning opportunities, to develop social interaction with other children, and to make it easier for them in the transition to kindergarden,” said Elizondo.

The couple immigrated to Coquitlam in July 2006 from Monterrey, Mexico to provide a better life and a safer environment for their two boys Ricky and Gerry, who were four and six years old at the time.

“The drug war wasn’t like it is now, but we were thinking this is never going to stop. It was getting worse and worse,” said Elizondo. “When we came to Canada, we had to start from nothing. When you don’t have anything, I think it is easier to start from nothing.”

Elizondo had volunteered as a teacher assistant in Mexico while studying to be a hairdresser. Working with children on a regular basis sparked an interest in her wanting to pursue a career in child care. Elizondo decided to start a small daycare at home when the family moved to Hope in July 2007. However, she soon needed Viera’s help to keep up with the busy schedule of transporting some of the children to and from school. By 2009, the couple decided to expand their business to meet the growing demand in the community. However, in order to do so one of them would have to obtain an early childhood education and care certificate. With more time to study and better English skills, Viera started the program at Northern Lights College in 2009 and finished last December.

“We never imagined we were going to have our own business,” said Viera. “Looking at the result, it’s rewarding. The impact you are having in a young child’s life is awesome. The more education they have, it’s going to help them in the future. It has been proven that being exposed to a second language at an early age, even though they are not fluent in it, you can see the advantage of that all the way into high school. They have less drop-out rates, and they have more reading and writing skills.”

Children’s Inc. will offer before and after school programs starting March 26 in the school gym for children aged six to 12. Students will have an opportunity to play games and learn about visual arts, fine arts and crafts, and fibre arts such as crocheting, knitting and embroidering.

For more information, call 604-869-0474 or email childrens.inc.ca@gmail.com.

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