Mom sees her children flourish through Oakland Family Services' Children's Learning Center

Jamyia Sherrell and her daughter, Journey, enjoy spending time together during Muffins with Mom at the Children’s Learning Center in Pontiac.

Jamyia Sherrell and her daughter, Journey, enjoy spending time together during Muffins with Mom at the Children’s Learning Center in Pontiac.

When Jamyia Sherrell brought her daughter, Journey, for her first day of preschool in the fall it was like returning home.

Jamyia walked through the doors at the Children’s Learning Center for the first time about 14 years ago with her older daughter, Harmony. The preschool was within walking distance of their Pontiac home.

“The teachers were so cool, and anything they had going on, I was a part of it,” she recalled. “I noticed they really were in tune with the kids.”

Ten years later, Jamyia returned to the Children’s Learning Center with her daughter, Indigo. She was so impressed with the preschool that she wanted Indigo to have the same experience as Harmony.

“We feel safe here,” she said. “The teachers are really good with the kids and have a lot of patience.”

Now Jamyia walks through the halls at the Children’s Learning Center not only as the mother of Journey but as a grandmother of five. One of her granddaughters may also enroll at the preschool, which would mark the beginning of a second generation to attend the Children’s Learning Center!

Jamyia likes how the preschool encourages families to get involved in different activities with their children. She has attended end-of-the-year picnics with her older daughters and, this year, watched Journey dance at the Flagstar Strand Theatre in Pontiac and attended a basketball game at Oakland University with Journey and Indigo. She also has taken advantage of learning resources, such as free literacy workshops sponsored by PNC Bank.

Jamyia’s children have been enrolled in the Great Start Readiness Program, which provides free tuition for qualifying families. From having her children enrolled at the Children’s Learning Center, Jamyia said she has learned how important her role as a parent is to the social and emotional development of her children. 

“I’ve learned how important family time is, even the little things,” she said. “If I’m trying to make my list of things, I tell Journey you get your list in order of things you want to do today. She will write it in her own words.

Jamyia Sherrell with her daughters Indigo and Journey at an Oakland University basketball game.

Jamyia Sherrell with her daughters Indigo and Journey at an Oakland University basketball game.

“I also always read to my kids every day. I want to read and know what everything is that they bring home from school, even if it is a sentence. If I am reading to Indigo out loud, I will ask Journey, ‘What do you think?’”

Harmony, now 18, is a great reader and her mom credits her passion for reading to the time she spent during her early years in preschool.

“When we would pick her up, she would be in the little house area with a book in her hand. I couldn’t believe that when she got to high school, when most kids don’t want to read, she would be reading books. She stayed on the same regimen all the way through.”

Jamyia said Indigo developed her creativity while in preschool, while Journey’s social skills have improved since the beginning of the school year.

“Before, Journey would sit back and just watch but now she will voice her opinion,” Jamyia said.

“This is a good school. The teachers are good to them, and they let them use their imagination a lot. When I come in the class in the morning, they are singing their good morning song, and it’s so cute.”

Learn more about our Children’s Learning Center.