Cloverleaf Preschool parents in ‘crisis’
Parents are in crisis and in disbelief. The sudden termination of Cloverleaf Montessori Preschool’s 26-year lease with Christ the Redeemer Church has left parents, their preschool children and the staff of Cloverleaf Montessori in the lurch.
The termination letter was delivered after the completion of fall 2018 and 2019 registration, and with the few options for early childhood care within the Cloverdale area, Feiza Maidens and her 42 students are without a preschool option for the September school year.
The response from the church has varied. The committee members responsible for the renewal of the lease, and in turn the termination of the lease, have refused any contact with parents. Reverend Grant Rodgers is sympathetic for the parents’ cause but feels he has no power in impacting a change. Rob Dickson, Director of Finance and Property for the Diocese of New Westminster, claims that the preschool building is “reaching the stages of disrepair and are no longer safe to be occupied.”
Rob Dickson claims that there is a safety report, however, the report is unseen by Feiza Maidens. In fact, a previous safety inspector uncovered no imminent safety concerns.
Parents united to organize a committee through social media to keep connected and share in real time. What is apparent is the inconsistencies in stories shared by the church from parent to parent. There is varying unclear reasons outlined for why the lease was terminated, who is responsible for the decision and with whom we should meet to request a nine-month extension in order to have a more reasonable transition to a new location.
Any parent who has a child is aware of the challenges in finding not only a preschool program, but one that resonates with morals and values that you wish to instill through early years education. Feiza Maidens has been serving families and children in Cloverdale for over 30 years. She acquired her lease at her current location, owned by the Dioceses of New Westminster, in 1989. In 1989, community parents were the driving force in supporting Feiza to start Cloverleaf Montessori. Through joy, pain, time and encouragement, Cloverleaf Montessori came to life encompassing the spirit of giving and community. An empty and depreciating hall became a well-established school; an empty lot became a playground from the ground up.
Just as in 1989, parents are fighting in 2018 for a cause that goes deeper than religion, education and the legal rights of terminating a lease. I picked Cloverleaf Montessori because I intuitively knew that Feiza was not just a teacher, she was an educator committed to building the inner self and dedicated to the development of self-efficacy and social responsibility.
The current state of world affairs is frightening, volatile, and filled with moments of hate. At Cloverleaf, we have an educator encouraging love and belonging but a church refusing to budge without just cause.
Feiza shared a quote that will forever resonate with me, “Within the Child lies the fate of the future.” It is for the future that the parents fight.
Larry, Gurpreet, Bhavana and Havva Jhaj
Cloverleaf Preschool is in ‘heartbreaking’ situation
I am writing to you in regard to the heartbreaking and tragic situation Mrs. Feiza Maidens and all of her students are experiencing.
I wish to stress how the communication to Mrs. Feiza and consequently all of us parents (42 families) has so far been far from transparent and honest.
As is widely acknowledged in the public, here and elsewhere in the world, the church is rapidly losing their members. Situations like Mrs. Feiza’s, where the church should be a leader in finding a solution rather than creating a problem of emotional and financial hardship, not to mention distress for all of the little ones, ought to be dealt with great care if the church is not to lose even more in the eyes and hearts of the public and the local congregation here in Cloverdale.
I have three children and Mrs. Feiza has been, and hopefully will continue to be, one of the leading factors in shaping my two sons and daughter into kind, respectful, loving and calm little persons. I will forever be grateful to the major role she has played in my family. I have no doubt that hundreds of families in the community, past and present, share my sentiments.
That being said, I fear for the near future of my children, as they might have to switch to other forms of care and that will doubtless be stressful for them as well as us, their parents. In addition, more likely than not, I will have to take a leave of absence from work, given the fact that the vast majority of preschools have closed their applications for the fall. Financially, this will represent a great strain to my family.
I plea with the Diocese of New Westminster to please consider extending the lease so that we can find an alternative space to lease and have time to bring it up to code.
Never have I imagined that the church would be the cause and an unwilling arm in such times. That is so deeply disappointing and sad. How am I to communicate this hardship imposed on us by church to my children? This has deeply shaken us all to the core of our belief.