When Wood and his wife Miriam became parents, their main priority was to find a place where their newborn daughter could safely learn and grow while they were growing their careers. As immigrants and a working family, providing a high-quality and safe early childhood education for their daughter was really important for them.
“I never wanted my kids to stay at home and just watch TV all day. My goal was for them to be in a place where they could interact with other children and learn even at an early age.” Miriam says.
One day while walking around the neighborhood, Miriam saw CentroNía’s sign and her curiosity led her inside to gather more information. After talking to the CentroNía Admissions Office, Miriam submitted an application for her 1½ year old daughter Jauline to enroll in CentroNía’s early childhood education program in Takoma Park, Maryland. A month later she received “the ‘yes’ that changed their family’s life.” Her daughter received a spot in CentroNía’s Early Head Start home-visiting program, which enhances the development of infants and toddlers while strengthening families through visits to the participants’ homes and group socialization activities. The home-visiting program implements instructional activities including indoor and outdoor experiences that promote and support emerging communication skills, creative arts, social emotional and physical development and positive approaches to learning. This was a great start for their family and her daughter’s education, but her goal was for Jauline to transition into the full-time center-based program to learn and grow everyday with her peers. After six months in the home-visiting program, Jauline turned two and was eligible to transition into a classroom. Today, she is now a bright, happy 4-year-old enrolled in CentroNía’s Pre-K program.
“CentroNía gave us everything my daughter needed and they taught her things my wife and I could not,” says Wood. “At 4 she is fully bilingual and knows how to differentiate both languages impressively. She knows how to count and it’s really good with directions. She knows things my wife and I didn’t learn until we were much older.” He adds.
Wood shared how his experience at CentroNía shaped his values as a father and community member. Based on his upbringing, Wood believed a father’s only role was to provide for his family while the mother was responsible for their children’s growth and education. He remembers asking his dad questions and his father’s answer repeatedly would be “go ask your mother”. His father was never engaged in his education and when he first became a father he did not envision raising his daughter any differently. CentroNía changed his thinking. A Family Support Worker invited him to attend the workshops available for parents at the center. After attending several of the trainings, he began to greatly value the importance of family engagement in the success of his daughter’s education.
Today, Wood and Miriam are actively involved in the CentroNía community. Wood serves on the Early Head Start Policy Council and as a liaison between parents and board members on CentroNía’s Board of Directors. He is grateful to have such an important role in the decision making process especially since now he understands more about Early Childhood Education and its role in shaping early learners. Wood and Miriam are hoping their younger daughter Angelica will soon be enrolled at CentroNía as well.
“As parents our main goal is to give our daughter the necessary tools to accomplish more than we have. Giving them a high-quality early childhood education is already a great start and we could not be more grateful for that,” concludes Wood.