From humble beginnings, a Spanish education legacy program is born.
In 1999, three Edmonton families began searching for a playschool where their children could learn Spanish. In each of these families, there was at least one parent of Latin descent and the families felt strongly about preserving and passing on the Spanish language to their children.
The families soon discovered that there were no Spanish-based pre-school programs in Edmonton. One of the parents, Mauricio Salejocame, suggested that they fill the void, and open up their own Spanish Bilingual playschool. The families agreed and Caminitos Playschool was born.
Mauricio Salejocame and Luz Maria co-founded Caminitos Preschool, the first Spanish-based playschool in Edmonton in 1999. Maurico took care of the paper work and Luz Maria took care of the teaching duties. The children from the three founding families became the first six children to attend Caminitos. Because the program was new, numbers were small and resources were limited, so for the first few years, they ran Caminitos Preschool out of Mauricio's basement.
The idea of a Spanish-based preschool program proved to be popular with other people in the Edmonton Spanish community. In 2001 Mauricio and Luz Maria started looking for a new, more permanent location which could accommodate more children. They approached Escuela Millcreek, which just happened to be starting up their own Spanish bilingual program at that time. The concept of a Spanish playschool which could help transition children into the elementary school was, of course, well-received. Caminitos soon found itself a home in one of the school's classrooms.
Although Mauricio and Luz Maria have moved on from Caminitos, their legacy remains. Caminitos continues to be a family run pre-school, focused on delivering quality pre-school Spanish-based education. Since it was founded in 1999, hundreds of Edmonton children have reaped the benefits of the head start they received by attending Caminitos.
Caminitos has grown considerably since it was established, bringing many exciting changes. There are numerous learning centers for all the children to enjoy together. The curriculum follows Edmonton Public Schools with a focus on early literacy, early numeracy, social skills, science, and math. This fun way of learning helps prepare the children for a successful transition to kindergarten.