It’s 7:00 AM in the morning—Celenia’s shift as a cashier starts in just 30 minutes and her husband is already at work. Thankfully, CentroNía’s early morning hours allow time to drop off her daughters Helen, 4 years old, and Celina, 1, and make it to work on time.

As working parents, Celenia and Walter knew they needed somewhere for their daughters to learn and grow during such important developmental years, however it had to be accessible and most importantly, affordable. After hearing about the program through several friends with young children, they felt CentroNía would be the perfect fit for their family. Beyond the high-quality early childhood education, Celenia and Walter also needed CentroNía’s extended hours. The extended day option complements school-day learning, providing parents flexible drop off and pick up times. As a construction worker, Walter must be at work even earlier than Celenia, so being able to drop off her daughters early—and at the same place—allows her to get to work on time. For parents like Celenia and Walter, the extended day allows them to pursue full-time employment or higher education while also providing a stable environment for their children.

Helen holds her younger sister Celina while their father Walter makes sure everyone is safe.

Her time at CentroNía quickly became Helen’s favorite part of the day. She started the program a year ago and loves her daily routine of circle time, reading, long walks through the neighborhood,
playing on the rooftop playground, eating new and different foods during breakfast, lunch, and snack, and especially creating art to fill the walls at home. Studies show that development during the first five years of a child’s life determines the foundation for growth, concept learning, memory, problem solving, and relationships with adults and other children. Using songs, dances, sensory tables, and dramatic play areas, CentroNía’s early learners grow in a bilingual environment through intentional, purposeful education and develop a lifelong love for learning. Your support ensures that each and every child in our programs has a safe space to learn and grow as well as equitable access to opportunities that will ultimately make them and our region stronger.

“I leave for my job knowing that my children are learning in a safe place,” Celenia says.

In addition to the soft skills Helen developed at CentroNía, her parents can see how much Helen’s English has improved. As Spanish-speaking parents, they speak mostly Spanish at home, so for their children it’s essential they practice English in school. Since Helen started the program, her English vocabulary has grown and she’s able to communicate effectively in both languages. Celenia and Walter value the opportunity for their daughters to improve their English skills while maintaining a strong connection to their home and culture through Spanish spoken in the classroom.

Celina, their younger daughter, started at CentroNía when she was almost a year old. CentroNía’s youngest learners experience a structured day full of listening to music, tummy time, looking at themselves in mirrors, grabbing for objects, and learning new sounds in a dual-language environment. By achieving developmental milestones and becoming accustomed to a structured school day, infants and toddlers at CentroNía get a jump start to learning in preparation for pre-kindergarten and beyond.

“Bilingual education allows early learners to develop divergent thinking, which crystallizes cognitive functions and critical thinking skills all while increasing their readiness for school,” says Esteban Morales, CentroNía Institute Educational Director.

Because of your support 600 CentroNía early learners and their families will be better prepared to succeed in kindergarten and beyond.

CentroNía is an advocate for providing high-quality care and early childhood education accessible to the diverse, multicultural families in our community. Parents and their children transition to elementary school prepared for the journey ahead—as reflected in the child’s emotional, physical, cognitive, and language development.

Helen enjoys going to school and playing with her friends.

As Celenia, Walter, Helen, and Celina prepare to celebrate the holiday season with traditional food and music from El Salvador, they reflect on their blessings and count YOU as one of them.
Please make an urgently needed tax-deductible contribution to CentroNía in the spirit of the season. Your gift will support this life-changing center that welcomes more than 2,400 children and families each year. While the circumstances that bring each family to CentroNía may be different, their hopes are the same.

Thank you for your generous donation during this holiday season—our mission is only possible with your investment in children like Helen and Celina. On behalf of all the children and families of CentroNía, please accept our best wishes for a safe and happy holiday season!