Local day care celebrates 10 years of service

JAMAICA HILLS—Arc-En-Ciel, a bilingual French day care and Montessori School on Rockwood Street, is set to mark 10 years in existence during the first week of May.

“We want to express how blessed we have been the last 10 years with being in such a wonderful, diverse community,” said founder Linda Chery-Valentin during a phone interview with the Gazette. “It’s been wonderful.”

She added, “We look forward to another 10 years with the community, the parents and the children.”

Arc-En-Ciel, which means “rainbow” in French, first began strictly as a day care center, but five years ago became a Montessori school. The school runs on the philosophy of Maria Montessori, who believed in self-education, according to Chery-Valentin.

She gave the following anecdote to illustrate the philosophy: When a child goes to recess after being told by a teacher that two plus two equals four, he or she will return having forgotten the answer. On the other hand, if the child is given one bead, and then another, he or she will remember that it equals two.

Arc-En-Ciel, which is geared for children from 2 months old to 6 years old, focuses on teaching the French language, but also covers areas such as gymnastics, yoga and music. Chery-Valentin wanted to concentrate on French because that is her native language, having grown up in Haiti.

“We start at a very early age and they carry the language with them their entire lifetime,” said Chery-Valentin, who with her business partner Theodora Koziol will be opening another school in Sharon this September. “We prepare our children for a lifetime of learning.”

The classes are mixed-age groups with the older children leading the younger ones, while the teachers observe and facilitate the learning process. The school uses self-correcting material that allows the children to cultivate their own natural desire to learn. An example is 10 cubes of varying size that a child must assemble into a tower.

“The children correct themselves,” said Chery-Valentin. “It is amazing.”

She said the school is a happy, beautiful environment that is conducive to learning at an early age. She noted that is one of the reasons parents pick Arc-En-Ciel, along with the fact the school allows the children to become bilingual.

“We are a family here. We are a community school,” said Chery-Valentin.

Koziol added they are very proud of their success and have received wonderful feedback from people.

“Linda and I find it exhilarating educating the future young people of the world and society,” she said.

Arc-En-Ciel, which is located at 61 Rockwood St., will have an open house from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on May 6. For more information, call 617-522-0640 or visit arcencieldaycare.com.

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