A so-called junior kindergarten has opened in Langley near its border with Surrey.
The new, 12,000-square-foot school, housed in a $1-million complex, is built at 88th Avenue and 200th Street, alongside the freeway near the Colossus movie theatre.
The new digs are home to the third Core Education & Fine Arts (cefa) facility in the Lower Mainland. The other two are located in West Vancouver and in Burnaby.
The Langley facility, which includes a private chef and a cinema, will house eight classrooms for this community’s youngest students. Enrolled are more than 100 full and part-time students ranging in age from one to five years old, explained founder Natacha Beim.
A two-teacher system allows one teacher to observe students while the other actively teaches. The “observer” teacher is on hand to learn what interests and excites a student.
Beim said children are naturally curious and, like sponges, absorb so much of their knowledge and habits at a young age. The key, she said, is to stimulate them in different ways, to optimize the natural development of their brains.
Based on that premise, junior kindergartens have been a fixture for decades in countries such as France, Britain and Italy, and also in South America and Asia.
Beim spent the first half of her 15-year career travelling the world, teaching and in turn learning from young children. She saw first-hand the benefits of the junior kindergarten system.
“With the younger children, you give them so much of yourself,” she said. “At that age, your impact is huge. You can change the outlook of their views on learning. They pickup on your excitement about learning. It’s very magical.”
Engrossed by her own desire to understand how children learn, she has combined her hands-on experience in teaching at junior kindergartens and private schools, with years of research into early childhood educational methods to develop the foundation for cefa.
Actually, when Beim and her husband Alex first settled in North Vancouver, she thought about going to work in a day care or preschool. She even tossed around the idea of opening her own private elementary school. But after careful consideration, she opted to open a new educational centre aimed at the youngest of young students.
The outcome: She’s developed her own play or game-based curriculum and opened her first junior kindergarten in West Vancouver in 1998.
When the newest cefa school opened last Tuesday (Sept. 18), on staff were 20 teachers, 10 support workers and a chef, in addition to 112 young students.
It’s her projection that the new Langley school will have 200 kids enrolled within the year.
Beim said she’s considered opening a similar facility in Surrey, but will first guage the level of interest among parents in the area.
The public is invited to attend a special grand opening ceremony at the new CEFA school in Langley on Saturday, Sept. 30 from 3 to 6 p.m. Call 604-539-2338 for details.
| SOURCE: Langley Advance |