The Dedham Planning Board held a parking scoping session Thursday evening regarding a potential bilingual child care center located at 27 Myrtle St.
Jose and Cenia Paulino told the board about their idea for Mariposa Child Care Center, which would serve children from infants up to 6 years old. Jose Paulino said that he and his wife want to have the child care center for children who grow up in English speaking homes who want to get a head start on speaking Spanish.
He explained that the school’s daily activities will be split 80 percent Spanish and 20 percent English. Paulino also ensured the board that students involved would be ready for the Dedham School curriculum. The center is intended to service infants, toddlers, pre-schoolers and, within two years, an after-school program.
“We are looking to start with pre-school and toddlers only,” said Paulino. “Then, depending on acceptance from the community, we may grow.”
The proposed plan includes a maximum capacity of 19 students. Paulino said that there must be 2.5 students for every teacher, hence needing four teachers. He also said that teachers will need a license from the state, have a bachelor’s degree or equivalent experience, attend continued education seminars and perform a background check. As for volunteers, he said that they will need to go through a background check.
The proposed center would be open Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. The building is also used by the Fellowship Church in Dedham. Paulino said that the church will be using the upstairs on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
Paulino explained that 27 Myrtle St. is new and has two rooms. One will be used for infants and the other for toddlers and pre-school eventually. For now, he said that the church’s use will not interfere because they will be using the upstairs room and the center will use the downstairs. The space being used is about 1,600 square feet, and no renovation is required.
Paulino also noted that there are eight parking spaces for the building, as well as a drop-off area.
The Planning Board seemed interested in the program and pleased with the plan put in front of them. John Bethoney said that he had some concerns about parking and dropping off. He noted that there needed to be a space for every three students, as well as spaces for teachers, administrators and a visitor space.
Robert Aldous, Planning Board chairman, also noted that these students will need to be brought into the school by parents so the drop-off area may run into various issues. They also were curious about how the church’s use would affect the parking situation there.
Aldous also questioned why the program would be so heavily focused on Spanish. Paulino explained young children are far more susceptible to learn and comprehend multiple languages. Therefore, it will prepare them for speaking foreign languages in the future. Paulino said that in a diverse community and globalized economy, this will be beneficial.
“When a child is exposed to a bilingual program, it is the best time,” said Paulino. “Early is the easiest and quickest way to perceive more than one language.”