Fraser Montessori Daycare
By YP Contributor

New Westminster Daycare Full of Happy Children

Edith Ziolkiewicz enjoys driving her young charges to school in the daycare bus. On one occasion Edith, owner of Fraser Montessori Daycare, encouraged a little girl to hurry to her classroom after dropping her off. "No," said the girl, "because then I won't get a hug."

Edith is full of anecdotes like this about the children in her care. They hide under tables when parents come to pick them up because they don't want to leave. "My priority," says Edith, "is that children are happy, emotionally fulfilled and academically challenged."

Although she runs the daycare, three infant centres, and Edith's Montessori Preschool along guidelines established by the Italian physician and educator, Maria Montessori, Edith emphasizes that the methods she uses are child-centred and designed to encourage social fun and a love of learning.

"I want them to learn to love learning. The children choose their work and they enjoy it," she says. "So much so that they don't even know that they're learning. That stays with them for the rest of their lives."

My priority is that children are happy, emotionally fulfilled and academically challenged. - Edith Ziolkiewicz, owner
Fraser Montessori Daycare, Family and Community; Daycare; Children

A Special Environment for Children in Daycare

Edith was inspired to educate children in her native Poland by her Grade 6 teacher; a woman who also taught Edith's mother. "She was a wonderful, amazing woman, and I wanted to follow in her footsteps." Edith taught elementary school for four years and then came to Canada where she taught preschool and then opened a daycare in her home in 1989.

In 1992, she approached a local church and found they were willing to lease a hall to her for a preschool. She still rents premises there for an infant centre. However, she decided that she needed to build an ideal environment for children, so for the next seven years she looked for land in New Westminster, took on the rezoning process, and designed a new daycare premises. "I was nominated for an award by the city for the special, child-centred design," she says.

Having opened its doors in September 2011, the Fraser Montessori Daycare is flooded with natural light and wonderful views through the child-level windows. It boasts 2,000 square feet of covered play space outdoors, and is located across from a two-acre park. "We offer yoga, French language instruction every day, and a different instrumentalist introducing a different musical instrument every month." There's also a delicious, nutritional hot lunch for the children every day.

Teaching Children and Teaching Families

Edith and her team welcome approximately 70 children aged from nine months to Grade 5 students every weekday. A bus takes children to and from their schools and out for field trips at various times. "I'm not just here for the children," says Edith. "I'm here for the whole family. I spend a lot of time talking to parents and guiding them. What I like to do is to change one family's life at a time."

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