Elizabeth’s Family

at Caruso Early Education Center


By Para Los Niños Team

June 13, 2024

Elizabeth Garibay is the mother of two Para Los Niños (PLN) students in the Early Education program. Elizabeth first found PLN when her eldest, Romeo, was only a year old. While searching for care close to her work downtown, a coworker recommended the Caruso Early Education Center. Once space became available, Elizabeth brought Romeo and his little brother Jeremiah in to give it a try. As with any parent, Elizabeth experienced the anxiety of dropping her little ones off for the first time. 

“At first, I was nervous, you know, how are they going to do? But the teachers and the people I interacted with at the front office made it easier for me to leave happy and calm. They always asked how I was doing and when I was at work, they would send me pictures of the kids playing.” 

Romeo and Jeremiah took to their classrooms right away, eager to play with peers after the isolation of the pandemic. They adored their teachers, and as their grasp on language grew, they began recapping their days when Elizabeth picked them up. 

“Jeremiah was quiet but now I see him being more active. Romeo will take something for his teacher and now Jeremiah wants to get his teacher a gift too. Something that comes from the heart and shows his appreciation.” 

Romeo’s teacher, Ms. Sheryl loves her energetic student’s frequent presents. “He brings me gifts constantly. It doesn’t matter if it’s a rock on the street, he’s bringing it!” 

Elizabeth appreciates the holistic approach to PLN’s Early Education. Her sons learn the basics of classroom etiquette and routines but are also taught how to process strong feelings in a group setting. One of Jeremiah’s teachers, Ms. Monica, uses social-emotional regulation exercises when her students begin to miss their parents: “Every day I ask them, ‘How are you feeling?’ And we use visual aids around the classroom for each emotion.” 

Over time, the Garibay family has taken advantage of more services at PLN. Elizabeth attended Felices Fiestas to find presents for her boys, and PLN staff helped connect Jeremiah to speech therapy. Elizabeth has noticed an improvement in her sons’ excitement and drive for school. Romeo especially enjoys expressing himself through drawing and painting. 

“When I leave [Romeo], he doesn’t cry anymore. Dropping off is easier, his language has developed. He even shows more motivation in his drawing for school.” 

Romeo is now four years old and preparing to enter kindergarten. Elizabeth hopes that in a few short years, Romeo will attend PLN’s middle school, with Jeremiah following close behind. Elizabeth is grateful for the time her boys have spent at the Caruso Center. 

“It’s like a family, we see them every day. We have a family bond with the security, teachers, and the staff.” 

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