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Thank You to Our Teachers!

Every year, Teacher Appreciation Week offers a precious opportunity to recognize the tireless dedication, boundless compassion, and profound impact of those who nurture and educate our youngest learners. From preschool to kindergarten and beyond, these educators serve as the guiding lights, shaping not just minds but also hearts in the crucial formative years of a child's life.

Early childhood educators play a pivotal role in laying the foundation for a lifetime of learning. Their influence extends far beyond teaching ABC’s as they foster social and emotional development, cultivate curiosity, and instill a love for learning that lasts a lifetime. They create safe, nurturing environments where children feel valued, respected, and empowered to explore and discover the world around them.

This special week offers an opportunity for parents, students, administrators, and communities to express gratitude and appreciation for the remarkable work of our early childhood educators. Whether it's a heartfelt note, a small gift, or a simple thank you, every gesture counts in recognizing the dedication these educators bring to their classrooms each day. By supporting and valuing early childhood educators, we invest in the future of our children and our society as a whole.

As we celebrate Teacher Appreciation Week, let us take a moment to honor the unsung heroes who play a vital role in shaping the next generation. Their passion and unwavering commitment to the well-being and success of every child deserves our utmost recognition and gratitude.

I want to express my most profound appreciation for the beautiful job, valuable lessons, and dedication our CentroNía teachers do daily with our children! I am thankful for their professionalism, commitment, patience, and flexibility.  

I appreciate their patience with unforeseen circumstances and willingness to intentionally plan and conduct fun interactions in the classroom and to try new ideas, activities, and strategies.    

It makes me smile when I walk by or into one of our classrooms and I see how it’s been transformed to provide a supportive environment for children’s language and education to flourish. Everything that they do is greatly appreciated as it takes a particular person to be a teacher to shape our little one’s brains.

Thank you for making a difference in the lives of our children and families.


Heriberto Velasquez

Senior Director for Early Childhood Education (ECE)

Teachers of CentroNía

CDA Test Prep Session

Recently, the CentroNía Institute hosted an informative session with Ms. Vilma Williams, Manager of Multilingual and Special Programs at the CDA Council for Professional Recognition. Ms. Williams was able to speak to our Spanish speaking CDA students about the CDA exam and what they can expect.

Thank you to Ms. Williams, for coming by to speak with our early childhood educators as its important to familiarize yourself with the test and overcome some test anxiety!

Conclusion of Teacher Nutrition Classes

The past few months our teachers at CentroNía Upshur have been participating in our Growing Healthy Habits from Childhood workshop with our Food and Wellness team. They have been able to learn new, tasty recipes and all about healthy foods and habits.

They recently had their final class and were able to put into practice what they had learned and created some delicious recipes that they can now do in the comfort of their own homes!

Field School Volunteers

One of CentroNía’s wonderful partnerships has been with our friends at Field School. What started almost 10 years ago has become a great way for 6th graders to interact with our early learners and our students to make impactful friendships with those who visit their classrooms.

Ms. Karin, Spanish teacher and Chair of the Language Department at Field School currently leads this tradition.

Read below to learn about her perspective and how their visits to CentroNía Columbia Road has created an important impact to her students.

For the past 8 years, it's been a tradition for Field School's 6th-grade students to visit CentroNía. It all started when Ermira Elmazaj, our French teacher and former Department Chair, came up with the idea to introduce our new students to the center. Since then, she's led these visits every year, except for the break during the COVID-19 pandemic.

To read more about Ms. Karin and the students of Field School click here!

Our Studio R.O.C.K.S. program has been a beacon of hope for countless children, providing a safe and nurturing environment out-of-school for nearly 36 years. With your support, we can continue to offer enriching activities, mentorship, and educational opportunities that empower our students like Iker.

Iker, a seven-year-old, is a cherished participant in Studio R.O.C.K.S at CentroNía. Studio R.O.C.K.S is a comprehensive before and after school program committed to delivering top-notch education to children from low-income backgrounds through various art forms and STEM activities, all within a nurturing and secure environment. Iker, who has been part of the program since kindergarten, has thrived under its guidance, soaking up knowledge and skills at every turn.

Norelia, Iker's mother, a single parent to four boys including Iker, faces the challenges of a demanding work schedule that spans from morning till evening. This leaves her unable to drop off or pick up Iker from school, during its operating hours. CentroNía and Studio R.O.C.K.S have been a godsend for Norelia, providing a vital respite from the stress of juggling work and childcare responsibilities. Knowing that Iker is in a safe and enriching environment brings her immense relief.

To read more about our family story click here!

Getting healthy with the Women's Fitness and Wellness Program

This spring CentroNía introduced the Women's Fitness and Wellness program to our community! For two months leading up to Mother's Day this year, our Family Center designed a bespoke program to make Fitness and Wellness highly-accessible to CentroNía Mothers all according to their schedules and needs. The goal of the program being for our parents to learn some healthy tips, get community support, and have fun with others in the CentroNía family! Members are able to attend workshops, cooking demo classes, and dance sessions every Wednesday.

Inspired by our robust Food and Wellness program and our Family Center to continue the momentum toward Women's Fitness and Wellness, local Latina-Owned business STRNG Pain-Free Performance has generously offered vouchers for participating Mothers, free fitness classes at CentroNía Columbia Road and 20% off personal training services to our broader CentroNía community.

Co-Founder and Coach Debbee Hernández expresses, "STRNG's journey started with a vision: to build a community where empowerment flourishes, powered by functional strength training, free from comparison and judgment. In our ethos, we celebrate the strength in everyBODY. Drawing from my own journey as an undocumented immigrant and graduate of Latin American Youth Center, I understand firsthand the value of community, programs, and mentors in navigating life's challenges. We find inspiration in the impactful work happening at CentroNía and look forward to working together”.

We are grateful to STRNG Pain-Free Performance for their generous donation to the mothers participating in our Fitness and Wellness program as this will continue to provide helpful support to CentroNía families!

If you are interested in receiving the discount and/or letting us know what kind of classes we should host, click here. For daily fitness and wellness tips, be sure to give STRNG Pain-Free Performance a follow on their Instagram page @train.strng.

Expanding into Silver Spring, Maryland and Ward 5

Have you heard? CentroNía is expanding this year with two new child development centers! This spring and fall we are expected to open up a center in Bunker Hill Elementary in Ward 5 in Washington DC and a center in Silver Spring, Maryland.

Follow along our journey in continuing our work in providing early childhood education and childcare to low-income, working families in the DMV area.

Visit our link tree to read and watch different CentroNía news pieces about our expansion!

Event Highlights

Health & Wellness Corner

In partnership with Giant Healthy Living, we were able to host a health and wellness corner event for parents and staff to participate and enjoy!

Free health screenings were available and visitors were also able to talk to a nutritionist and receive vaccinations. Thank you to Giant Healthy Living for partnering with us for this event!

2024 Pre-K Fashion Show

This past March our Columbia Road early learners were learning about clothes. They learned about how they are made, how they are washed, and about different clothing options such as uniforms as well.

To show off some clothes they made themselves, CentroNía held a Pre-K fashion show! Our Pre-K students were able to strut and show off their wonderful pieces to family and friends. Their outfits showed all that they learned in class during this fun clothing unit.

Pre-K & Studio R.O.C.K.S Science Fair

CentroNía held its first science Fair this April where our Pre-K and Studio R.O.C.K.S students were able to showcase their class's science project.

We would like to give a big shout out to our teachers for helping our students put together projects that they were able to have fun working on and show off to their families and community!

Special thanks to CentroNía supporters:

Chelsey Christensen

The Field School Inc

Ms. Diane Kuhla

Rebecca Mimnall

Ms. Lisa K Rosenstein

SCHWAB Charitable Donor Advised Fund

Ms. Jo Ann Scott

Karen Taylor