CHESTERMERE – In the hopes of spreading the message about the importance of giving during the holidays, a local preschool came together to support the Boys and Girls Club of Calgary.
E.C.I. Learning Academy, which opened it’s doors just this past September, is a new preschool in Chestermere. Aileen Kintanar, principal and teacher at E.C.I, said that they selected the Boys and Girls Club Forest Lawn Division, as it serves around 200 children, and they felt that it was a good sized group for their first donation drive.
“We also chose the Boys and Girls Club was because we thought the children could relate to the age group that they serve, since many of their kids range in age from three to 12 years of age,” Kintanar said. “Also one of our teachers here at the school knows the coordinator, and she expressed the lack of donations they were receiving this year and how many of their children were coming into their center with no warm jackets, mitts or hats to wear.
“This concerned us, and since it was the holiday season we really wanted to teach our students the true meaning of Christmas and the importance of giving to others who unfortunately may have less than us.”
Kintanar said that they were able to collect around 25 to 30 jackets, hats, mitts, snow pants and various other pieces of clothing. She said that they were also able to donate about 75 toys.
“We were able to present our donations to Renee Gibbon, the Head Coordinator for the Forest Lawn Division, and our students also shared some of their musical talents as they sang some Christmas songs and shared some Christmas spirit,” Kintanar said. “We were all very excited and proud to give her all of the donations we collected and as a token of their appreciation, Renee’s kids made us a beautiful card with her children’s photos, which we will proudly display at the front of the school.
“It warmed all of our hearts when Renee expressed her appreciation and gratitude to us, and our children loved their card.”
Kintanar said that most importantly, they were just happy to hear that they were able to keep some children warm during the winter season.
“We were happy to be able to put a smile on a child’s face when they opened one of the Christmas toys we were able to collect from one of our families,” she said. “This was our first time to do a donation drive and we are so thankful to all our families who donated all the toys, clothes and food.
“We are hoping to continue this annually and share more of our blessings to others in need.”
E.C.I., which stands for Explore, Create, Imagine is a private, early childhood operator certified by Alberta Education. They serve children starting at two-and-a-half years of age to six years of age, who are typically developing or who have special needs.
“We believe in an inclusive environment where children learn and grow with one another and where all children learn about respect, tolerance,empathy and kindness,” Kintanar said. “We provide therapy intervention for speech, occupational, and physical disabilities.
“We also have a kindergarten program that is certified by Alberta Education and follows the kindergarten program of studies.”
Kintanar said that all of their classes have a small teacher to child ratio and that most of their employees have extensive background in teaching children with a variety of needs.
“Both Gladys Directo, our Head Administrator, and I have been overwhelmed with the great support and kindness that the community of Chestermere and our families has generously given us,” Kintanar said. “We just want to give everyone a big thank you.
“We are excited for continued growth in the new year.”
For more information about E.C.I. Learning Academy, visit ecipreschool.com.