At the Age of 3, Mrs. DeFazio knew that her daughter Jacqueline was something very special. Jacqueline was able to absorb new knowledge quickly and expressed concepts or ideas she found new and exciting from time to time. Jacqueline was a very curious girl whose appetite for learning could not be satiated. Although Jacqueline was enrolled in a very high quality Preschool program in Central New Jersey, her mom knew that Jacqueline needed even more stimulus for her daughter as her daughter had a deep thirst for knowledge and a need to be challenged at a higher level than the local Preschool could provide.
Jacqueline’s mother searched the internet thoroughly to find just the right program for her 3 Year old daughter. She lived in Central New Jersey so she hoped to find something close to her home. She heard of a wonderful Gifted and Talented Program for children that was being held at Montclair State University in New Jersey. As she looked into the Program, she realized that her daughter was too young to qualify. The “Gifted and Talented Program” only accepted children ages 5 and up so, her search continued.
After additional, exhaustive research she finally stumbled upon a very unique Gifted & Talented Enrichment Program, designed for children Ages 3-7, pioneered by a world renowned educator from South Africa and a very successful entrepreneur in Denver Colorado, “FasTracKids”. She discovered that the program was being offered by a local school named Apple Montessori.
She contacted the school and attended an open house there immediately. Apple Montessori then proceeded to explain that in order to attend the FasTracKids Gifted and Talented Program Mrs. DeFazio would need to enroll her daughter Jaqueline fulltime in the school and then she would need to pay additional for the classes. Enrollment in just the FasTracKids Program was not an option.
For Mrs. DeFazio, paying close to $20,000 per year, plus an extra fee to have her daughter attend FasTracKids, was not an option. Her search continued and she realized there were many FasTracKids centers located in neighboring New York. She contacted the closest one to her, the Staten Island FasTracKids Branch, 45 minutes away, by car, on a good day with no traffic and spoke with the Director, Veronika Verdino.
She came in to try a class and enrolled her daughter that evening. This is where the story really starts to get interesting. Mrs. DeFazio was an extremely involved parent in her child’s education. She would demand to see each class review sheet or Discovery Sheet, as it is called in FasTracKids, to know exactly what her daughter was learning at FasTracKids. She would spend the entire 2 hours of class time searching on the internet for books, museums, and websites she could use to further enrich her daughter’s FasTracKids class.
Every week, she would also take her daughter to their local library where she would pull additional books and magazines and give her daughter an additional lesson based on what she was learning at FasTracKids. She also reported back to the FasTracKids Center Director, Veronika, of her weekly escapades or findings.
Upon Graduation of the FasTracKids Program, she had already enrolled Jaqueline in the Montclair State University program as Jaqueline was now 5 Years old and Qualified for the program with the help of a recommendation letter written by Jaqueline’s FasTracKids Teacher and Program Director.
Last I heard, Jaqueline and Mrs. DeFazio were attending an Eye-Level Center in Central New Jersey, the Edison location. The center director informed me, at a company conference in Los Angeles, that Jacqueline is now studying at her center and Mrs. DeFazio speaks highly of us here in Staten Island. Mrs. DeFazio explained to the director how much of an impact we made on her daughters’ education.
I like to believe that we helped however the true hero of the story by far is Mrs. DeFazio! If we, as parents, could all live up to this standard then our children will surely have the tools to succeed in the future.
Do you have any FasTracKids or Eye-Level stories you would like to share? We would like to hear from you. Email us with your story and we may feature it in our next newsletter!-
Franco Verdino FasTracKids and Eye Level Regional Director