How “Be the change you wish to see” turned “I” into “WE”……
When things are meant to be, the stars align and miracles unfold. In taking the initiative towards this dream, I have attracted others who share the same vision. We are now a TEAM… A team that shares the same philosophy: Learning begins with relationship and blossoms with creativity. We value relationships and individuality. We are professionals. We share a common passion for supporting, nurturing and caring for children, and seeing them reach their full potential. Together with our individual strengths and enthusiastic personalities we bring our own creative incentives to our programs.
With immediate success upon opening the center in January of 2013, it became very clear to me that I had been blessed in attracting an absolutely incredible team of staff members. The strength and personalities of the Educators at Creative Advantage is what initiated the success of our programs and is what sets us apart to this day.
The level of care, patience, compassion, creativity, and hard-work that our staff members put into their jobs, shows the parents here each day that their children are being cared for by individuals who are truly meant to be in the field of childcare. Please read our staff BIO’s for insight into the individual experience, personalities, and values of our Team Members. Finding, screening, and training the right people to be responsible for the care of these little ones is something that I take very seriously. Having said that, I am incredibly proud of my staff and feel honoured to be working with them each and everyday. It is an amazing feeling to walk through the center and see smiles, hear laughter, and witness incredible learning experiences that all comes from the passion that goes into each one of our very important jobs.
JEN – Owner/Yoga Teacher
Hi I’m Jen! I have lived in Kelowna since 2005, raising my three beautiful children Kaylen, Sienna, and Evan. At home my kids and I have 2 cats and 2 dogs! I am a very energetic and outgoing person and have experience in teaching both dance classes and fitness classes. My passion for children began at a very young age. My mom ran an in-home daycare from the time I was 10 and I would rush home from school to play with the kids. Since then I have worked in many in-home daycares and have held management positions in multiple restaurants. This work experience along with the life experiences of: being married for 10 years, being in a step-family with 5 kids altogether, and being a single mom of 3, has given me the skills and compassion necessary to thrive in my position. Beyond that, the only thing that really makes me qualified to run a large care facility is my sincere and wholehearted dedication to the betterment of children’s and parent’s lives and to support my incredible staff members who help me tremendously in this endeavor.
Creative Advantage has been a huge success since the first day it opened…success that is measured in the happiness of our families and staff! Each day that I walk through the center and see how much the staff care and how well the children are cared for, I feel so very happy that I am living my dream and am inspired become better and better so that these wonderful children and amazing staff continue to be in the best environment they could possibly be! I feel that trust is an incredibly important factor in what we do here and am an open book. For more insight into my personal views please feel free to read the interview done by Kelowna Now here.
RENA – Floor Manager
Hi, I’m Rena! You will find me in all the rooms at Creative Advantage covering breaks or filling in when someone is away. I started working at Creative Advantage in May 2013 and have truly enjoyed getting to know all the wonderful children and staff. My educational background includes completing my community support worker certificate, food safe, first aid, and ECE – A certificate. I have worked with all ages of children starting in 1989 which is when I was asked to be the supervisor of the first inclusive out of school care program in Burnaby. I continued as supervisor for eight years until we started our own family. Our family moved from the coast in 2004 to raise our children in the beautiful Okanagan. I have been married for 27 years and have two awesome teens, Connor 20 and Reanne 17. Any free time I have you will find me on the basketball court cheering my daughter on!
MICHELLE – Admin/Dance Teacher
Hi, I’m Michelle Koricina and I am the owner and director of The Kore Dance Project. I am super excited to dance and have fun with the children of Creative Advantage! Until the age of 18, I studied acrobatics, tap, jazz, and hip hop at Andrea’s Dance Studio in South Western Ontario. While performing at a competitive level, I was also trained in acrobatics, flexibility, and partnering by Cirque Du Soleil Aerial Artist Meaghan Wegg. In order to broaden my training, I moved to Toronto, Ontario, where I was accepted into the Commercial Dance Program at George Brown College, which focused on jazz, ballet, and hip hop. I am a certified Acro-Dance Instructor with the Acrobatique Syllabus and a certified ADAPT Syllabus Instructor in Tap and Jazz.
In 2014 I moved to Kelowna to complete my Bachelor of Business Administration with a specialization in Accounting. I come with over 10 years of teaching experience, award winning choreography, and was also the 2017 Silver Winner of the Best of Kelowna Young Entrepreneur Award!
KIRA – I/T Manager
Hi, my name is Kira! I graduated from Okanagan College in 2012 from the Early Childhood Education program, with a Special Needs certificate. I returned back to Okanagan College in 2013 to complete the Infant and Toddler certificate program. I have worked at Creative Advantage since opening its doors in January 2013, but took a year of Maternity leave in 2014. I have enjoyed watching this business grow into the amazing place that it is today. I love being a part of this center and being able to work with such amazing people who make this center all that it is. I feel very honoured to be able to work with such wonderful families and children that come into Creative Advantage.
I chose Early Childhood Education because I love working with children and watching them learn and grow every day. I believe that children learn best through play, and as an Early Childhood Educator I help them do just that. I encourage them to explore and manipulate toys and objects around them and to discover new ways of learning through hands on activities!
EMILY – I/T Manager
My name is Emily Brost. I graduated from the ECE program at Okanagan College in 2012. Being the crazy person that I am, I returned to school in 2013 and completed a certificate program in infant and toddler care. I love working with kids, as each day is exciting, challenging, and fun. I have worked at Creative Advantage since January 2013. I’m proud to see how far the business has come; what started as a dream is now a beautiful reality. I so enjoy being a part of this fantastic centre and working alongside some of the most kind and creative people I have ever met. I feel privileged to work with all of the amazing children and families.
I believe children learn best through play and I try to facilitate this by allowing them the freedom to explore and manipulate their environment. To me there is nothing more magical than taking a moment to watch children’s interactions, see the wheels turning, and wonder what is going through their minds. I view early childhood education as ever evolving and I continue to learn each and every day while working with children.
Hi, my name is Juanita. I joined the Creative Advantage team in the summer of 2017 after moving with my family from Canmore, Alberta. I obtained my Bachelor of Physical Education/Kinesiology from the University of Manitoba, and I hold a certification as an ECE-SN in British Columbia; my aim is now to complete my Infant/Toddler certification!
I have been working with children for as long as I can remember. I began babysitting when I was eleven and since then I have worked in university day camp settings. I have operated a day home, worked many years in an infant/toddler daycare program, and raised three children now ages 15, 17, and 19. My sons are now both in Highschool, and my daughter is in University.
I believe in providing high quality care and nurturing a child’s creativity through play, creative art expression, and music. I desire for the children in my care to feel loved and safe, to have fun, and to be involved in learning together with their peers. I also desire to support families in their journey. I consider it a privilege to care for each child, and appreciate the ability to be a part of their learning journey. Observing and experiencing the wonder and excitement of a child when they learn something new or create something on their own is such a delight.
When I am not at work, I enjoy watching my children play hockey, soccer, volleyball, basketball, or biking on trails with my family. I love the outdoors; camping, the beach, and gardening. I am looking forward to growing a garden in the beautiful Okanagan!
Hi there everyone, my name is Kazia! I was born and raised in the small, but beautiful, town of Nelson B.C. where I got my ECCE license before moving to this wonderful big city of Kelowna B.C.! I love to keep things fun and interesting and, of course, sing Disney when ever I get the chance. I went into daycare because when I was little I was the first kid to arrive, and often the last to get picked up. What did I remember most about that? I LOVED it! I loved getting to do the art projects, play with the toys, and visits from community members. Those were just always things you’d never get in the same way at home. A complete set of miniature ponies? Please…Those would get lost easy at home, but were always at daycare!
So… when I realized this was a job, and they got paid to do it, I said sign me up! Now, finally able to be in a big city, with my dog and fiancé, I am one happy gal! I love the opportunity of further learning available in this area, and the chance to be in a daycare as big, and loving, as Creative Advantage!
Hi, I’m Lisa! I have been working here at Creative Advantage since March of 2013. Recently I have been working in the Toddler Room but have also worked in all the rooms doing break coverage for the other women. I started looking after kids when I was nine in my mom’s home daycare, which also led to a lot of weekend and after school babysitting jobs. Now after I go home I spend my time with my three girls ages 11, 8, and 6. It is such a joy working with your children and I look forward to seeing them every day!
In my down time (which isn’t very often) I like to read, do crafts of all sorts, bake, and spend time with my many animals. Soon I will be taking some courses to upgrade to an assistant status and hopefully soon be able to take the full ECE course!
My philosophy for caring for your children is that they learn through play and doing things for themselves, and it is my goal to give them a safe place for just that!
Hi, my name is Tamara, and I am an energetic Early Childhood Assistant who has the drive and the heart to work alongside children of all ages while showing them care, kindness, and respect. Children have the potential to have amazing, productive, creative, joyful lives filled with laughter and giggles. To be involved and help guide them as their minds and creative spirits grow is such a rewarding opportunity for me while working for Creative Advantage. Seeing a child smile just brightens my day!
Hello there! My name is Maykala. I have lived in a small town in Saskatchewan on a farm for my whole life and I made the best decision to move to Kelowna about four years ago. I am a very loving and outgoing person. Since achieving my First Aid and Early Childhood Education certification, I have had three years experience in the field. I chose Early Childhood education because I love watching all of the little ones learn and grow. The children make me laugh and smile everyday and I feel very grateful to be a part of their lives. My mom and Grandma used to own a Scrap-booking store, so I learned a lot and have developed a passion for Arts and Crafts. I also love horseback-riding and have competed in rodeo competitions. I am grateful for my Dad who has taught me so much about horses.
Hello, my name is Valerie. I am originally from Goose Bay, Labrador. I have been in BC for 18 years and I live in Kelowna with my husband Lloyd.
I have been in the Early Childhood field for 34 years. Caring for children is my passion! I have worked in the toddler program and have been with Creative Advantage for three years. I truly enjoy my position and love coming to work every day. These years in a child’s life are very important as it sets the foundation of lifelong learning. My philosophy is simple: Every child is different and learns at their own pace. We as caregivers need to provide a rich environment that allows them to engage in self-discovery, self-help, and more importantly encourage play experiences. Children learn through play; and through play, social skills develop. Ensuring that positive experiences are available daily will help all children to grow to reach their full developmental potential!
When I am not at Creative Advantage I enjoy knitting, snowshoeing, traveling, and long walks. My favourite occasion is Christmas and I truly love summer and am an official beach bum!
DANI – Music Teacher
Hi, I’m Miss Dani! I have been sharing my love of music with this center for the last three years. After developing a strong bond with the children and staff of Creative Advantage, I decided to further my education, so I could join the team on a more regular basis. I feel very lucky that I can bring my daughter, Penny with me, as I believe the environment at Creative Advantage is wonderful for children. I received my Professional Music Diploma in Nelson B.C and from there studied Music Therapy in North Vancouver. I have written and recorded music (in Toronto) and have performed with several groups/bands over the last 10 years. I’ve always had a huge love for children and decided to move in a different direction with my music and began teaching young children in Kelowna. I was born and raised in Kelowna and am happy to be back home and excited to be a part of the, Creative Advantage team. I couldn’t be happier to share Music and Movement with every single child at the center!
Hi, my name is Marie! I was born in the lower mainland and relocated to the Okanagan when I was 10 years old. I have a teenage daughter who is my whole world! I was fortunate enough to have had amazing childcare for my daughter as she grew up and realized the importance of finding high quality care that meets a family’s needs.
Upon moving to Kelowna with my daughter in 2011, I felt it was also time for a change of career; something more fulfilling and something my daughter would be proud of me for. At the time I held a position in the salon industry working as an Esthetician and Nail Technician, so after a lot of soul searching, I decided that child care was right for me!
In 2014, after completing my practicum at Creative Advantage and graduating with a diploma in Early Childhood Education, I was happy to be hired on as a full-time employee. I love the family atmosphere Creative Advantage holds. The team at this centre work together to create a safe and loving environment, rich in learning experiences, creative opportunities, and strong relationships. I look forward to the future with Creative Advantage, working with the children, and all of the wonderful experiences that this field entails!
BARB – Creative Learning
My name is Barbara Fay and I am a born and raised “Kelownian”. After completing three years of post secondary education at UBCO, I relocated to Calgary, AB in 1994 with my husband where I attended Mount Royal University, completing a Bachelor of Applied Communications (Public Relations) in 1998. I worked as a communications practitioner for seven years before I welcomed my new role as “Mom” with the arrival of our three beautiful children. In 2003 we moved back to Kelowna to be closer to family.
I am a graduate of the Early Childhood Education diploma program from Okanagan College where I now also contractually teach. An advocate of life long learning I believe in the importance of being a facilitator for children and I am committed to being a positive, influential voice in the Early Childhood Education profession.
Enthusiastic, energetic, and creative I strive to bring best practice to everything I do. I am an advocate for children and families and am excited and privileged to be a part of children’s journeys through play and learning.
JOSIE – Junior Kindergarten
My name is Josie, and I recently moved to Kelowna and joined the wonderful Creative Advantage team in the summer of 2017! I am a licensed ECE and I have always had a true passion for teaching children. Having worked in the Early Childhood Education field for more than 10 years, I have had opportunities to teach diverse groups of children including those challenged by learning disabilities and speech impairments as well as children who functioned on and above age level. From these experiences, I have gained in-depth knowledge of, and developed effective strategies for, accommodating each learner’s diverse learning styles and needs. I am originally from Quebec and I fell in love with Beautiful British Columbia many years ago! As much as I can, I am in the mountains; hiking, climbing, snowboarding, biking, and I am always up for an adventure!
Hi, my name is Kalli and I started at Creative Advantage in April of 2014 . I am a licensed ECE that graduated from Vancouver Career College in August of 2010. I have always wanted to work with children since my first niece was born in 1996. When she was born she had a condition called Tar Syndrome and was told she would not able to do a lot of things. Watching her grow and develop into a beautiful young woman blew my mind on how strong and bright she is! Watching her grow was amazing and I knew I wanted to be around children from then on. I have three other nieces and one beautiful little girl of my own, whom I am very proud of. Being around children is so much easier than being around adults because I find you can be yourself, be silly and you get to have fun all day! Most of all what I enjoy is watching them grow and develop, and knowing I have helped them get there puts a smile on my face!
DORI – Sports Teacher
Hello, My name is Dori! I just moved to Kelowna from Victoria in June of 2017. I am a Canadian married to a South African and we have two toy poodles! I love going for walks, hikes, and bike rides. My favourite animal is a giraffe because they are beautiful and they have blue tongues.
I graduated from Sprott Shaw College’s Early Childhood Education Program; As an Early Childhood Educator, I am committed to providing a safe, nurturing, educational, and stimulating environment for children. One of the best parts of being an early childhood educator is being able to watch the children’s faces light up when they are learning and having fun. I enjoy playing and teaching all sports especially baseball, soccer, and basket ball. I believe being enthusiastic and having a supporting partnership with the children’s families is key to helping a child grow to their full potential. I love teaching through songs because they are very catchy and can always bring a smile to a child’s face. I am super excited to be a part of the Creative Advantage team, so come by and say hello!
Hello, my name is Janine. I am an Early Childhood Educator Assistant here at Creative Advantage. I was born in Edmonton and moved to Armstrong, BC in 1993. After I graduated from PVSS, I completed my Associates of Arts Diploma at Okanagan College in Vernon. I then took a year off and lived in Mexico and Chicago. I am striving to obtain my Bachelor of Arts in the next few years. I have taken several courses related to the childcare field: Child Development, Abnormal Child Psychology, Lifespan Development, Children’s Literature and Publishing, and Socialization and Education just to list a few.
I am very grateful that I have the pleasure of teaching alongside this amazing group of individuals. I love coming to work every day to teach, learn, and play alongside the children. These last two years have been such a great learning experience, and I look forward to learning more and more each day with great guidance from my fellow coworkers!
Hello! My name is Dana and I’m very excited to be a part of the Creative Advantage team. I grew up in Winnipeg and moved to Vancouver as soon as I finished high school because I LOVE the mountains. I spent two years studying classical music and teaching music lessons and it was sometime during those two years that I discovered my love of teaching. In May 2017 I moved to Squamish, where I had the opportunity to work as an educator in an outdoor based daycare. This experience made me realize that I wanted to further my education and experience as an educator. I moved to the Okanagan in October 2017 and I’m so happy for this opportunity to teach and learn with the children at Creative Advantage.