‘They raise Kauai’s children’

NUKOLII — Lourdes Torres of Kilauea was among about three dozen child care providers and preschool representatives who turned out for an appreciation event Saturday at Aqua Kauai Beach Resort.

“I have six children now and have my hands full with them,” said Torres, who cares for six preschool-aged children at her North Shore home. “But I’m loving every bit of it.”

Mary Lu Kelley, the People Attentive to Children, Kauai coordinator, said the program was held to support and provide additional training to licensed providers on Kauai.

“These people are passionate about what they do,” Kelley said.

There are 44 licensed child care providers and about 30 preschools on the island, Kelley said.

“The child care providers work in their own family settings and don’t normally have a chance to network with other providers or the preschools,” she added.

Hokulani Hopkins graduated last year from the Kawaikini New Century Public Charter School and is pursuing her early childhood education certification.

“Eventually, I hope to establish a preschool where Hawaiian language is at the forefront,” Hopkins said.

Torres said there is a need for child care on the North Shore.

Her sentiments were echoed by Sandra Walz Garcia, director of the preschool at Pacific Missile Range Facility in Mana.

“There is a need for child care on the Westside, too,” Garcia said.

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