Category: Interviews

#speaking at #CreativeMornings #Vancouver

#speaking at #CreativeMornings #Vancouver

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Grateful to have been featured in Profit Magazine today! 💛

Grateful to have been featured in Profit Magazine today! 💛

I just saw their tweet:
She started @CEFAschools as a teacher, but to continue to grow it @natachabeim had to become a student of business:

It’s true, all I wanted was to work in a school that had an amazing program for children. When I didn’t find one, I started my own. Little did I know that it would turn into a Franchise, owned by families, teachers, mothers, people who wanted the same thing for their children.

I am very grateful to all of our amazing franchisees, teachers, staff, and families ( You have helped me grow so much, and so far beyond what I ever thought I could give as a person!

I am also grateful to EO, the Entrepreneurs Organization ( Since I joined EO almost 4 years ago, I learned so much, grew my company, and made many amazing friends.

The first 19 years with CEFA have been amazing, and the next 40 will be even more incredible, because every day, we all try to do better, learn something new, contribute, and that is what keeps us moving forward.

OK, this post was a little sappy. Man, you would think I won an Oscar or something! 🙂

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Business in Vancouver

The early education business is starting to boom in B.C.

Three private junior kindergartens are slated to open in the Lower Mainland in the next two months.

They’ll instruct pupils as young as one year old and are responding to a growing demand from parents to equip their children at increasingly younger ages for institutional learning – even when full-time spaces cost 1,200 per month.

University of British Columbia research has helped fueled parental enthusiasm for early education options.

Last year a study from its Human Early Learning Partnership found that stimulating brains at a younger age increases the likelihood that children will get better grades in high school and improves their chances of being accepted to university.

In 2006, B.C’s ministry of Education responded to public demand for early learning opportunities by launching Strong Start BC. The program has since expanded to more than 300 free play-based early learning centres today from 85 in June 2008.

To read more click here

Urban Mommies Interview

At Park Royal the other day, I offered to hold the elevator door for a group of the most lovely, well-behaved children I had seen in ages.  Their three teachers graciously declined my assistance, saying that their safety protocol was to hold the door themselves.  Very impressve.  Hmmm.  Polite uniformed children, good behaviour and professional adults.  They had to be..  Yes..  When I asked – all was confirmed.  They were from CEFA.

Core Education and Fine Arts is Canada’s first Junior Kindergarten School.  It was begun by Natacha Beim, a vibrant and brilliant teacher who saw a need to prepare children more thoroughly for kindergarten.  Internationally (in France, England, China, Japan and many other countries),pre-kindergarten programs are standardized and children are given essential tools that set them in good stead for future education.  The CEFA program is unique in Canada because it follows the international standard for pre-kindergarten learning.  Parents have the choice of enrolling their preschoolers from 2-5 days per week, and classes run from 7:30 – 6pm.  It is highly recognized for its leading academic program, as well as its excellent curriculum in the fine arts and athletics, designed to develop and challenge young children intellectually and physically.  The well-rounded and flexible offerings enable a child to acquire knowledge in many different ways, as no child learns in exactly the same way as another.

“The decision to participate is the child’s, which emphasizes one of CEFA’s  goals: to give the child autonomy and responsibility over his or her education ( I learn because I like to learn ). Creating a passion for learning in life is an essential step in your child’s learning path.”

UrbanMommies toured one facility (there are currently 9 in BC) and we were super-impressed.  Arts are explored, languages are learned, and children are taught at their own pace but within a beautiful structure that apparently results in the exceptional behaviour I witnessed in the elevator.

Drama, Yoga, French. Culture Immersion (who wouldn’t want to try on clothes from all over the world?)..  The school also includes a a gym painted to resemble a circus, a cinema, art room and library.  A resident chef prepares breakfast and lunch for teachers and students, and a fitness trainer is also on hand.  Despite the uniforms, chef and excellence, the place is not in the least bit snooty – just in case you’re wondering.

“Each child has a schedule, drawn to reflect his or her unique abilities and made up by CEFA in consultation with parents. The schedule is broken up by play times, family time, project time, relaxation, naps and movies as well as breakfast and lunch. Every week, the children can also look forward to field trips.”

One of the great things about CEFA is that because it is an educational program, working parents are able todeduct tuition expenses to a maximum of $7000 per year, per child. This amount is directly deducted from the earnings of the lower income-earner in the household when filing your taxes.

Creating Renaissance-kids, exposure to fitness, languages, arts, an international learning standard, a chef and naptime too.  Heaven.  If only every child throughout Canada could have the opportunity to develop in such a special environment!  We’ll cross our fingers for more expansion and keep you posted.  In the meantime, I’m off to yoga.  Must not be eclipsed by my preschooler.

Written and edited by Jill Amery

Yummy Mummy Interview

Yummy Mummy Interview

Owner and creator of Core Education and Fine Arts or CEFA (, a junior kindergarten based on the European school system-CEFA has grown from one West Vancouver location to include others in Burnaby, Langley (opening this September) and soon in Yaletown and Kerrisdale.

Currently working towards her doctorate in development psychology

Mother of two boys, Julian, aged six and Dominick, aged three

Advice for new entrepreneurs

“The key is to be strong. Often when you start something new, you know what you have to do, but you may not have the experience. So, you make mistakes and unexpected things always come up. Stress can wear you out if you let it. My advice is to ask for help when you need it, admit when you’re wrong and only worry about the things you can change. Stay flexible, but stay true to yourself-no matter what happens, I always stop whatever I’m doing at 2pm to pickup my sons from school”

Worst and best business decisions

“My worst decision ever was not to listen to my gut feeling and to make a decision that, deep down, I knew was wrong. My best business decision ever is, and has always been to consider the people I work with as friends and as great advisors. One person alone can never know more than a brilliant group of people.

On balancing work and family life

“I am a planner by nature and extremely organized. My biggest tool is an agenda! Twice a year, I go somewhere by myself for a few hours, or even a day or two, and I think. I think about everything and everyone that’s important to me. I think about what kind of person I want to be for them: what kind of wife, mother, sister, daughter, teacher, mentor, and person in general.

Then, I write down what it means to be that person and what kind of things I need to do. I keep my list with me all year and based on those goals, I design my schedule.”

Goals and dreams

“I want to add a milestone to education and develop a program that can be implemented anywhere in the world. I dream of building schools in developing countries, possibly by linking efforts with a charity called Room to Read. But if everything I did and lived now is all I ever get a chance to do, I have to say that I would feel very happy and fulfilled!”