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
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 – Staff 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!
KIRA – Co-Director
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 B – Co-Director
Hi I’m Emily B! I’m one of the directors at Creative Advantage as well as an Infant Toddler educator. I was born and raised in the Okanagan and moved into Kelowna in 2010 to take the ECE program at Okanagan College. After graduating and working in the field for 6 months, I was connected with Jen by a mutual friend and joined the team to help open Creative Advantage in 2013 and have worked here ever since. As my family grows I feel so lucky to work with a team of amazing people that I can trust with my own children. The passion and love that the team at Creative Advantage has for every child and family that walks through the doors is the reason I wouldn’t want to work anywhere else.
JUANITA – Infant Room
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!
EMILY D – Infant Room
Hi I’m Emily D! I was born and Raised in Nelson BC, after graduating high school I moved to Vancouver for 3 years. I moved to Kelowna 2 years ago, where I decided to go back to school at Okanagan College where I got my ECEA certificate in 2019, I am currently taking online courses to get my full ECE license. I enjoy working with children and watching them learn and grow. In my spare time I enjoy being creative, reading and spending time outside.
IRENE – Tweenie Room
Hi I’m Irene! I am the Infant and Toddler Educator in the Tweenie room. I moved from Dawson Creek in 2018 to start my life with my husband here in the Okanagan and pursue a lifetime career working alongside children and their families. I was inspired by Creative Advantage’s philosophy of trust, communication and “home away from home” atmosphere. After graduating from Okanagan College in 2020 I knew that Creative Advantage’s safe, comfortable, consistent environment was in line with my own philosophy. I am so grateful to have the opportunity to work with our staff, children, and families so that we can continue to provide quality care.
MAYKALA – Tweenie Room
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.
KAYLA – Tweenie Room
Hi I’m Kayla! You will find me in the Tweenie Room. I was born and raised in Kelowna, I absolutely love it here, and I never want to leave. I got my ECEA and my First Aid in 2015, and I am slowly working on my ECE on online. I’ve been working with children since I was 12 doing babysitting, and I absolutely love it, the children put a smile on my face every day and it just brightens my day up when they are happy! I’m a fun outgoing person with a smile on my face when I’m at work, it’s something I’ve wanted to do for a long time. I was living in Williams Lake for a year and a half, for that year I was running my own multiage classroom for a year straight, but once they shut down I moved back here in march 2018! Then I found Creative Advantage Child Care, and I absolutely love it here, the staff and children are amazing. I love the environment here, everyone is so nice and helpful, and everyone works well together. I played fastball since I was 5 years old, and now I play slo-pitch and I love it, I play a lot with my parents, it’s a family sport kind of thing.
MARIE – Toddler Room Manager
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!
Sue – Toddler Room
Hi I’m Sue! I moved to Kelowna 10 years ago with my family from Windsor, Ontario. I graduated from St. Clair College in 1991 with a certificate in Early Childhood Education with also my Infant Toddler care. Before moving to Kelowna, I ran my own in-home daycare for 8 years. I have worked with all ages, but for the past 18 years I have worked mostly with the 2-3 year old age group. My favourite part of the day with the kids is circle time and doing crafts. When I am not at work, I enjoy hanging out with my two kids, going for walks at Mission Creek and cooking.
JANINE – 3-5 Program Manager
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!
LISA – 3-5 Program Manager
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!
FRANCES- 3-5 program
Hi, my name is Frances. I’m from South Korea and moved to Canada in 2014 with my Husband. I have been working as a violin instructor and music therapist for 10 years. I had the opportunity to do my practicum here at Creative Advantage and have spent amazing time with the children and the staff and am happy to join the team. I love to read stories and dance with the children.
MELANIE – Multi-age program Manager
Hi I’m Melanie! I’ve moved to kelowna 4 years ago from the lower mainland and love all the things the Okanagan has to offer. I have worked as an Early Childhood Educator for 11 years now in all different settings and have been in the field for more than 20 years. I have a 5 year old very energetic son who has taught me a great deal and helped me to grow. I’m very passionate about teaching and nurturing young children. I never have a dull moment and I am always continuing to further my education. I’m very happy to be a part of the team at Creative Advantage.
JENSA- Multi-Age Teacher
Hello my name is Jensa. I’m originally from Vancouver and have lived in Kelowna since 2014. I graduated from the ECE program at Okanagan College in the spring of 2020 and joined the awesome team at Creative Advantage in the fall. I’m an animal lover and have a lot of pets. I enjoy whistling in my free time. I love to laugh which is why I’m passionate about working with children; they keep me smiling and laughing every day.
Amanda – Multi-Age Teacher *On Maternity Leave*
Hi I’m Amanda! I was born and raised in North Vancouver. I have 2 wonderful parents and an older sister. For as long as I can remember, I’ve always wanted to work with children. At the age of 12 I took my Babysitting and CPR course. In the summertime I volunteered at pre-schools and met families for which I then babysat for. I knew when I needed a career change that I wanted to work with children, so I worked at a daycare for a year while I finished my diploma in sign-language. After I graduated I knew that working with children was exactly what I wanted to do. So from there I enrolled in the ECE program at VCC here in Kelowna. Teaching children is a huge passion of mine and I love every minute of it. I believe in providing a variety of educational components because all children learn differently. My goal is to make a difference in children’s lives and allow them to have fun in a safe environment where they feel free to express themselves in their own unique way.
TAMARA – Break Coverage
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!
DANI – Break Coverage/ Music and Yoga Instructor
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!
GABY – Break Coverage
Hi I’m Gaby! I have been a childcare worker for 20 years. I did my Early Childhood Education at MacEwan University in Alberta. I am trained to work with children of all ages. I’m currently employed as a part-time worker and I cover breaks in all of the different programs at Creative Advantage. I am also a student at Thompson Rivers University where I am enrolled in my last year of the Bachelor of Arts in Psychology degree program. I am a mother to a 9 year old son who is the center of my life. I enjoy working at Creative Advantage and I am always looking forward to spending my day with the wonderful children and staff members.
BARB – Professor in ECE
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 and am currently both finishing a masters degree in Early Childhood Education as well as teaching ECE courses at the Okanagan College.
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.