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Profiles of Excellence: CEFA Early Learning

CEFA is an all-day early learning private school for children ages 1 to 5
Vivian Young, director. Photo via CEFA.

A commitment to incredible education, top-notch care and excellence on every front have been the hallmark of CEFA Early Learning centres since the first one opened its doors in West Vancouver more than two decades ago.

Vivian Young has seen the difference that level of commitment makes in the lives of children, from both sides: first as a parent whose children attended the program, and now as the owner of two CEFA locations in New Westminster.

CEFA is an all-day early learning private school for children ages 1 to 5, with a curriculum that offers reading, writing, mathematics, and STEM (science, technology, engineering and math), as well as visual arts, dance, music, drama, yoga, cultural immersion, and more, with a focus on helping prepare for kindergarten readiness.

Young was the parent of three young children—two of whom were already in a CEFA school—when she made the decision to leave her position with an environmental consulting firm to have more time to focus on her young family.

“I fell in love with the program and what it was offering,” she says. “All three of my children are quite unique with their own strengths and perseverances, including one with a learning disability. I felt strongly that CEFA supported us and promoted comfort and confidence. All three graduated from the CEFA program and my husband and I couldn’t be happier, more grateful or more proud of their efforts and successes in school and in sports.”

With her oldest just beginning his university journey and the youngest now in high school, she’s seen the long-term impact that their early education experiences had on them. Now, she’s thrilled to offer that same experience for students at her two local programs.

Their first location opened on Carnarvon Street in 2008, and opening their second location in the Uptown area in Royal City Shopping Centre less than a year pre-COVID-19 has been a roller coaster ride of emotion and resilience. Without the support of the City, the Ministry, Strathallen Property Management and her amazing team, the grand opening celebration and its continued curriculum and care wouldn’t be possible in coping through this pandemic.

“My team of early childhood educators and chefs are absolutely wonderful, patient, caring and resilient in their dedication in maintaining a warm and safe environment throughout. We have engaged consultation with all the appropriate regulators and available resources and support in ensuring proper protocols are in place and regularly updated to promote safety, physically and mentally, for our students and staff. We will get through this together with kindness and calmness.

“CEFA’s core purpose is to inspire children to learn and be knowledgeable, seek self-betterment and contribute as individuals,” she says. “Whether you are a child, parent, teacher or adult in your community, our core purpose helps guide any efforts.”

The foundations that made the first CEFA such a success continue today, she says, as that original commitment to excellence continues. “Excellence is putting forth your best with the sincerest intentions,” she says.

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