A Kindergarten Assists Kids of Struggling Parents
“You can only leave a child here if you work,” says Nicole Schneider, the center’s director. The parents of the children are taxi drivers, single parents, municipal employees and, as Schneider admits, “even prostitutes.” “The reason that Judith Allred opened the facility was for struggling families to be able to find work and keep working,” says Nicole.
They know only anger and happiness
Judith and Bill Allred, a retired American couple who moved to Roatan in 2003, have left a lasting legacy on the island. In 2004 they helped to open the kindergarten, located right across from the municipal offices in Coxen Hole. ADLC also opened the La Rosa Language Center in Los Fuertes that teaches English to monolingual mainland born island residents. Nine years later Nicole Schneider took over the center’s management. “I found this place and fixed it up,” says Nicole looking to the space at a busy Coxen Hole corner right next to the Stadium Julio Galindo.
Born in Santiago, Chile, Nicole thinks of herself as British-Chilean-Swiss. With a degree in international relations and one in hotel management, she is more than qualified to run a daycare in a small town. Her parents came to Roatan in 1993 and built one of first hotels in West Bay.
ADLC’s rooms are filled with the chatter and laughter of giggly kids. Two to six-year-olds come to the center every day from 7:30 am till 5:30 pm. The parents can drop off and pick up their kids anytime they need to. Their children learn to wash their hands three times a day, brush their teeth after meals and develop their social skills. They have interactions in English and Spanish and also receive education in basic math and science. Here they are develop their first motor skills.
“80%-90% of our brain is formed in the zero to six years of age,” says Nicole. “This is when our temperament is also formed.” The children here come from working, but troubled homes in Coxen Hole. “They know only anger and happiness; this is what they see at home.”
The center has capacity of 38, but 29 children are enrolled at this point. The parents pay monthly Lps. 1,000 per child and a matching amount is raised through donors and donations. There are six part time teachers, there is also an administrator, and a guard.
With solar panels donated by Vegas Electric the electric bill is kept below Lps. 1,500. There is a difficulty in finding and keeping ADLC’s sponsors. Anthony’s Key Resort, Paradise Beach Club and Markawasi Foundation have been helping, but several other sponsors have crumbled away and Nicole is always looking for new sponsors.