KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Kansas City metro area has many options when it comes to early childhood education. All share a similar focus of preparing children for kindergarten, but one center is going above and beyond that.
The Tomlin Academy Early Childhood Center opened in Kansas City five years ago. Since day one, the center has more than tripled. They're currently teaching 84 children.
"I just received a new license. Oct. 15 for 100 kids. So that will be our maximum capacity at this particular location," said Shantelle Tomlin, the center's owner.
After spending 15 years as an English teacher, Tomlin opened the center on Holmes Road, but she wanted to offer something that would set her apart from others. Now, the center is the first early childhood program that specialized in a Spanish emersion program.
The majority of Tomlin's staff are native Spanish speakers, which sparked the idea to create a curriculum focused on the Spanish language.
Starting at infancy, teachers are only speaking Spanish to children.
"As they move up in the 3-year-old and 4-year-old classrooms, then, of course, we try to embed both the English and Spanish," said Tomlin.
Tomlin believes it will set her students apart from others as they move forward with school.
"The research does clearly indicate that children who learn a second language are far more advanced than other children," said Tomlin.
As the children are learning to count and spell their A-B-C's, they're doing the same in Spanish.
"They are doing amazing in the classroom when they leave here," said Tomlin.
Currently, the Tomlin Academy is accepting 16 new students. They hope to open a second location by the start of 2019.