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Oshiris is calm and compassionate when she speaks in Spanish, her first language. She works down the street from Centro Tyrone Guzman, a Greater Twin Cities United Way education partner, and noticed the school when she was looking for early childhood care for her eldest daughter.

Oshiris felt Centro’s Siembra Montessori dual-language program was a good fit for her family, because she wanted her daughter to learn in an environment where her Latina heritage was recognized and honored.

“At Siembra, I appreciate that they teach kids to be proud of their culture and language, and it’s okay to speak both Spanish and English,” Oshiris said.

By the time her eldest daughter went to kindergarten, she had also enrolled her younger daughter, two and a half, at Siembra. Oshiris felt starting her second child in a quality early childhood education program as soon as possible was important.

“The earlier you get your child learning, the more you see them develop and gain confidence,” she said.

Greater Twin Cities United Way helps Siembra offer tuition options tailored to family circumstances, so parents pay what is realistic for them. Without these options, many children like Oshiris’ daughter would not be able to attend.

Not only did Centro help her daughters grow, but Oshiris said she grew as well by participating in the school’s family engagement programs. She attended nutrition and social-emotional education sessions, which helped her become more engaged.

“As a parent, I’ve been able to learn and grow alongside my child, so we are learning and growing together,” Oshiris said.

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