Michele Moore, director of the Vancouver Island School of Early Childhood Education, during circle time at the school. — Lauren Collins photo

Qualicum Beach school aims to prep children for kindergarten

Vancouver Island School of Early Childhood Education opening second location in Nanaimo

Michele Moore said she always wanted 14 kids.

“My mom, when I was a little kid, always said, ‘How many children do you want to have, Michele?’ and I always said, ‘14,’” said Moore, the director of the Vancouver Island School of Early Childhood Education.

“I thought it was interesting because this place, right now, is licenced for 14, and we’re getting it licenced for 16.”

The school, located at 825 Village Way (Christian Fellowship Centre) in Qualicum Beach, has been open since February 2016, Moore said.

The school started off with licencing for eight children, Moore said. But since then the school has expanded into two rooms with an extended outdoor space. She said the church lets the Vancouver Island School of Early Childhood Education use the sanctuary room as a gym, which she said is “awesome if it’s raining or too hot.”

The Vancouver Island School of Early Childhood Education is for children aged 30 months to five years. Moore, who previously taught kindergarten, described the school’s program as “kinder-prep.”

“When our friends (the children) are ready for kindergarten, they know all their numbers, they know all their letters, they know all their sounds, they can cut with scissors. They’re ready. They could go into Grade 1,” she said.

“It’s more than just daycare.”

Moore is a B.C. Certified teacher with an early childhood education licence. She also attended the Alliance Francaise French School in Vancouver, so she also teaches the children to count the numbers on the calendar in French as well as English.

Moore also has two assistants: Nichole Yakielashek, who helps in the morning with art worksheets; and Gina Land, who helps in the afternoon with music and movement.

Yakielashek said a program like this is helpful for teachers when students first start kindergarten, but it’s also beneficial for the children.

“My little girl is going into kindergarten, so I think for her to feel ready, it makes her feel more confident as opposed to going in and you don’t know anything,” Yakielashek said.

Moore said she will actually be opening a second location in north Nanaimo in the near future, but it’s just in the process of being licensed in her name.

Despite plenty of people referencing Qualicum Beach’s older population, Moore said the school has had a good response.

“I think there’s lot of families moving to Qualicum and to French Creek, so I think it’s just getting the word out there. I know there’s lots of families coming from Vancouver, selling their houses, moving here — just a better quality of life,” Moore said.

“Word of mouth seems to be fantastic… As soon as they find out I’m a kindergarten teacher, they seem to be on-board.”

Although Moore doesn’t live in Qualicum Beach, she said she makes sure to get out to community events to let people know about the school.

“Because I don’t live in the community, I need to make sure that I come out here to the different community events and get known,” said Moore, adding that she gets a positive reaction at these events when she hands out pamphlets for the school.

The school runs Monday-Friday from 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Prices range from $200 for one day a week to $775 for five days a week or $38 a day for drop-in.

To register, or for more info on the Vancouver Island School of Early Childhood Education, contact Moore at 250-802-6334 or vilifelonglearning@gmail.com. Anyone who is interested can also visit www.vichildcare.ca.