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Meet Bhagya Wijewardane of Keystone Montessori Preschool Whittier

Today we’d like to introduce you to Bhagya Wijewardane.

Bhagya, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
I am from Sri Lanka and moved to the US when I was 22 with my beloved husband. I always wanted to become an Interior Designer. I graduated in CAD design and Architecture degree and found a job in Telecommunications. While I am working in Vector Resources, I had my first daughter, Sayumi.

She was in her daycare for 2 months and we faced to many inconvenient situations. She definitely had a hard time in every school we took her. I also realized many schools are much more money oriented rather than supporting parents. I sometimes get embarrassed the way how school officials support 25 years old new mom. After I got pregnant for my second daughter, it was definitely the time to stay home. Once I decided to stay home, I am not working anymore and I wanted to go back to Sri Lanka and spend time with our parents. While I was in Sri Lanka, I started to study Montessori and became a fan of it. My late mother who was an Elementary school teacher always build our morals, what she always said “You are born to do something to this world.” With everyone’s support, I started my first Daycare in my apartment’s living room. I always knew my business values. My daughters were 2 years old and 8-month-old. My husband agreed and supported me to be successful. We were able to fill our daycare soon. I then started take Early Child development classes and graduated from UCLA. In 2015, we started our first center location in Whittier.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
It was not a smooth road at all. There are many barriers while we are achieving our targets. The biggest barrier was financial and funding capitals. When we started a business as first generation who trying to settle down in America, everything is new to us. Therefore, working with government departments was a whole new experience. Our most challenging situation was to find the right employees. The employees is our heart. The right employees can bring the business to a whole new level.

Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about Keystone Daycare and Home Preschool – what should we know?
Keystone Daycare and Home Preschool opened in July 2011 as a small family child care in the city of Bellflower. In March 2013, Keystone daycare moved to La Mirada and opened its 8-capacity daycare. In May 2013, we expanded its capacity to 14 children.

Keystone Daycare opens its first center based Montessori and childcare in the city of Whittier in 2015. Our school promotes the learning of Dr. Maria Montessori who believed that all children deserved the opportunity to become the most complete “person” possible. Montessori Method is a scientific approach that fulfills a child’s mental and physical needs. It also encourages maturity of behavior in child and his self-discipline and self-esteem. The positive and enthusiastic attitude will improve children’s education and it will brighten their future. We are dedicated to growing confidence, creativity, and strength in each of the children are respected as individuals and encouraged to develop their total personality at their own space and with their total individual growth styles: laying a foundation for a lifetime of creative and artistic learning that include music, art, dance as well as academics.

The school located in education building of St. Matthias Church in beautiful Whittier Uptown historic neighborhood including a large playground for children.

The original family daycare starts with only 2 children and was licensed to accept 14 students. The reputation of the facility grew quickly because of our company values. We always went out of our way to help others and that is an integral part of Keystone. It makes our school special.

The school soon had a continuous wait list and plans were made to enlarge the facility. The parents believed in the school because they noticed the result. The parents saw their children getting advanced with new learning every day. By 2015, the new school opened and was able to accommodate up to 45 students. We serve ages from 2 years to Kindergarten.

Is there a characteristic or quality that you feel is essential to success?
Become a leader than a boss.
I believe in my employee’s strength.
Stress less working environment but fast paced.
The way I see on situations / I have an open mind.
Positive thinking
Hard working
High tolerance level
Never say no or I can’t. It is not in my vocabulary.

Contact Info:

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