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Thursday, April 24, 2014

Cornering the Market
Fostering learning and positive values
Teri Ann Loeser

Winners’ Academy
711 Dogwood Ave., West Hempstead
(516) 292-5050

Formerly known as Rising Star Center, Winners’ Academy is a multi-cultural faith-based early childhood center with an after-school program for school-aged children as well. Learning is fostered in a serene setting where children can feel safe, loved and valued. Age-appropriate instruction by caring New York State certified teachers helps create this nurturing environment.

Founder and director, Djenane Bazile started Rising Star Center in her home in 2004. Her dream was to start an after-school program, with the purpose of keeping youngsters away from trouble. She had worked for the YMCA, and had managed a group home for teenage mothers and their babies. Once she started Rising Star, she saw the need for the children’s younger siblings to also have a place. So she became licensed as a day care center. Eventually needing more space, she moved Rising Star into the Jewish Community Center of West Hempstead in 2010. She recently changed its name to Winners’ Academy, thanks to the idea of one of her young students.

“Every child is believed to be a winner and is taught to adopt a winning attitude,” said Bazile. “Winners’ Academy is a multicultural faith based inclusive preschool. We place a strong emphasis on Christian values. These include respect for authorities and helping one’s neighbor. Our primary goal is geared towards helping each child achieve his or her full potential through daily coaching, while focusing on strengths. To that extent, we believe that each child has greatness within, and is capable of achieving academic excellence.”

Ages run from two-and-a-half to five for preschool and kindergarten, which takes place from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Winners’ Academy has five classrooms, each broken up into areas such as drama, music, and arts and crafts. They use a “STEM” program: science, technology engineering and math, with age-appropriate projects like building a bird house, or learning to use computers or tablets. The have a computer room, a library, and an outside playground.

Transportation to and from local schools is provided for children ages 6 through 12. Winners’ Academy is open for them from 7 to 9 a.m. and from 3 to 6 p.m. School-aged children can get homework assistance, or enjoy arts and crafts, sports, drama, chorus, and in the near future, Zumba classes.

Preschool and the after school program run from September to June. Summer camp takes place from the third week of June to the third week of August. Winners’ Academy is licensed by the New York State Office of Children and Family Services.

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