CORONA, Calif. – Clarebel Ortiz has experienced the downside of “parking” a preschool-age child in traditional day care. She also knows the alternatives are limited, which is why she doesn’t mince words in describing her 4-year-old son’s new daytime setting.
“I love this school,” said Ortiz, who works in Yorba Linda three days a week and volunteers at the new Corona del Rey preschool the other two days. “Where we were before, it was babysitting. Here, you look around and it’s a school. They’re learning about the planets. They’re reading. My god, that’s so important.”
Ortiz’s son, Ivan, is part of the first class of students at Corona del Rey, a preschool that opened in November to rave reviews from community leaders and parents. The two-classroom school is equipped to serve 75 children — 25 in a full-day setting, 50 more in two half-day programs.
The grand opening was held on Friday, June 7.
Enrollment is free for children whose families meet low-income requirements and whose parents work, go to school or both. The teacher-student ratio is 1 for every eight children, and the program uses the Montessori education philosophy, which focuses on establishing independence, self-esteem and confidence.
“It’s amazing to see kids come in here and absolutely thrive,” said George Searcy, executive director of the Hope through Housing Foundation, the nonprofit social services subsidiary of National Community Renaissance.
Hope is partnering with Quality Children’s Services, which manages the preschool at National CORE’s Corona del Rey affordable housing development in Corona.
National CORE, the third largest national nonprofit developer of affordable housing, manages nearly 9,000 units in four states. Corona del Rey, which was completed in 1999, consists of 160 two-bedroom units, all for families falling under the median incomes in the area.
Steve PonTell, chief executive officer of Rancho Cucamonga-based National CORE, said programs such as the Corona del Rey Preschool are pivotal to CORE’s mission to revitalize lives and communities.
CORE formed Hope through Housing with that in mind, and over its nearly two decades, Hope has provided more than 2 million hours in supportive services to enhance quality of life, including preschool, afterschool and senior wellness programs.
Steve Lambert, The 20/20 Network
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