The Kiddie Academy in east Vancouver’s Fisher’s Landing area delivers a winning combination of early childcare education programs balanced with fun activities for children. Licensed and accredited through the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC), the Kiddie Academy offers full-time care with a curriculum designed to help kids aged six weeks to six years achieve kindergarten readiness while developing a lifelong love for learning. Additionally, the Kiddie Academy offers before-and after-school care to help with commuting needs for working parents and summer camp programs for children ages 6 to 12 years old.
“We just had 55 students graduate this year—the fifth batch since starting five years ago—and a lot of them are going into kindergarten,” says Vijay Ilavarasan, director and co-owner. “We want kids to know their value and know they are capable and confident and can figure things out.
The First Kiddie Academy in Vancouver
An independently-owned and operated franchise founded in 1981 and based out of Maryland, the Kiddie Academy has 300 franchised Academies located in 38 states and is best known for its Life Essentials curriculum, which promotes each child’s intellectual, social, physical and emotional growth. The Ilavarasans, upon research, decided to become Kiddie Academy franchise owners and felt that Vancouver would be a wonderful place to open it.
“We wanted to do something on our own,” shares Ilavarasan of the pair’s journey to opening Vancouver’s Kiddie Academy. “Deepika and I wanted to involve as many local people as possible because we wanted this Kiddie Academy to reflect our local community.”
The Ilavarasans were attracted to the flexibility afforded by the corporate organization to understand the local market, community needs, and the option to work with local businesses and citizens to build Vancouver’s venue. Robertson & Olson Construction of Camas built the 10,400-square-foot building, and CIDA Architecture of Portland assisted with the Ilavarasan’s design vision.
“We put a lot of emphasis on the building’s design and the outdoor playground design,” shares Ilavarasan. “We think all of that is also important for nurturing children. There is a rock wall inside and a flexible gym. We also made sure to have a basketball court and a soccer field.”
Ilavarasan co-owns and directs the Kiddie Academy with his wife, Deepika. Currently, the Ilavarasans employ 34 dedicated teachers. The dynamic duo, passionate about education, understands the value it brings to your life, career, and development and comes prepared to steer the Kiddie Academy for the community’s wellbeing. Deepika has a Washington State certificate in early childhood education from Clark College. She also has a master’s degree in computer science and engineering from Oakland University in Rochester Hills, Michigan. Ilavarasan brings a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering and master’s degrees in industrial engineering, computer science and engineering, and business administration.
Kiddie Academy Fosters STEM and More
“The curriculum focuses a lot on STEM education—Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics—which I felt was relevant to our area,” explains Ilavarasan. “We have many technology companies around here, and many of our parents were interested in starting STEM education for their children to nurture their curiosity. But, beyond that, we try to instill in the children how things are created and how they can also create things.”
The endless creative activities like crafts, playdough, building blocks, reading materials, technology, and science fun at the Kiddie Academy encourage kids to learn, play, engage and explore. “We align activities with the theme of each learning unit,” says Ilavarasan, “and we have a good plan each week as to what we are covering.”
Each day has a thoughtful structure for the children. Breakfast, snacks and lunch are included during the day, along with a nap and two, 30-minute play sessions outdoors. “We have age-appropriate structures outside,” explains Ilavarasan. The curriculum is age-appropriate and divided into different learning units. For example, a theme for the month will be broken into weekly learning segments for each age group. The monthly theme, concepts and ideas are utilized through all the subject domains, including science, math, creative arts, sensory activities like sand, snow, and corn, and dramatic play, to name a few. Other exciting topics include the rain forest, outer space, the solar system, and much more. Learning about the calendar, days of the week and weather are also teaching items.
“Our goal here is to expose the children to different facets,” explains Ilavarasan. “The same thing that one child might connect with strongly, another might not, but it is still good to know about it. So, at this stage, we just need to expose them to the world around us and keep nurturing their curiosity.”
“We are open year-round because more than 90% of our families have full-time working parents,” shares Ilavarasan. To learn more about happenings, programs, or how to enroll your child, visit the Kiddie Academy Fisher’s Landing website or Facebook.
1920 SE 167th Avenue, Vancouver