Betelihem is the mother of two early learners at CentroNía. As a resident of Columbia Heights she used to walk by CentroNía every day and see teachers playing outside with the children in the playground which led her to begin researching CentroNía. Because her husband was the only one working, Betelihem decided to apply for CentroNía’s early childhood education program so she could also work. Her daughters Adon, age three, and the youngest Yiddidy, age two, were accepted into the program. In the two years they’ve been with CentroNía, Betelihem and her husband are very happy with the development they have seen with their daughters. For them it is especially satisfying to see how their daughters are learning English and Spanish – two languages they believe to be very important in this country.

Betelihem and her husband came from Ethiopia, and they mostly speak Amharic. When they first moved to the United States five years ago it was difficult for them to learn the language get accustomed to a new culture. They were able to establish a community in D.C., but still struggle with the language barrier.

Studies show that development during the first years of a child’s life determines the foundation for growth, concept learning, memory, problem solving, and relationships with adults and other children. During these years, even more significant advances occur in language development. Adon and Yiddidy speak three languages – English, Spanish and Amharic – and their parents are often amazed at how much they learned in just two short years.

“As a mom it makes me very proud to know that my daughters have a bright future ahead,” Betelihem said. “My older daughter is only 3 years old and she is learning three languages at the same time. The other day, for example, I took her to the dentists and it made me very proud to see her speak Spanish with the receptionist.”

CentroNía is a great place for Betelihem and her family to learn and grow together—in a community that embraces all cultures.