Central Okanagan 

Early Years Partnership

Mary Mandarino - West Kelowna Mayoral candidate

Thank you  for giving me an opportunity to answer your questions.

My first teaching assignment in British Columbia was at the Nakusp Secondary School.

I was a young married teacher with a 3 year old son.

Day Care was an issue, not only for me but also for other teachers in the school district.

Together with another couple my husband and I established the very first Day Care Centre in Nakusp.

We hired a young woman as the Day Care caregiver for our children.

As educators we wanted our children to be in a safe place and a positive learning environment.

Not only that we wanted our children to experience some early childhood activities.

We also wanted our children to develop social skills, appreciation for nature, and respect for one another.

Meal times and play times became a shared and very strong interactive process.

We invited other young parents to join us in the project.

We did not limit our availability to school  teachers as we were open to ALL mothers whether they required child care or not.

Snack and meal time became a shared experience so no child was left out nor felt “different” from the other children.

Parents of these children became our administrators and helpers, and resource people. 

These folk were very resourceful in obtaining supplies and equipment and a location for us to operate this project.

As an educator and young mother I felt it was very important for us to be as inclusive as we could be.

Today my four children are adults, university educated and are employed professionals.

My two oldest sons have one son each. Their wives are young professionals also.

As the Mayor of West Kelowna I would definitely support your goals for Poverty Reduction and Early Childhood Development.

I would also include working with the Westbank First Nation and ALL other organizations of interest  in this endeavour.

In response to your questionnaire, thank you for giving me an opportunity to share my own experience with Early Childhood issues

Warm Regards, Mary Mandarino



Working Together on Early Childhood Development

 in the Central Okanagan

Email us at:


2604 Enterprise Way #8, Kelowna, BC   V1X 7Y5

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