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Why We Love This Place Wednesdays: Tambra Bowles and Leap Ahead

Wednesday, July 17th, 2019


By Terra Avilla

My little family was seated at a restaurant. I was trying to keep Pearl from throwing food onto the floor while Frankie was telling me the latest and greatest about a baseball recruit he has coming from out of state, when Peach proudly interrupted us, displaying her name “A-N-N-A” which was written in green crayon on her coloring placemat.

Frankie and I paused in the middle of our conversation and looked at each other. Our baby girl had just correctly spelled and written her name. “Did you teach her that?” I asked Frankie. “Um no,” he replied. Peach told us proudly that she practices it at school and that ‘Ms. Kendra’ helps her with her “a’s” Ms. Kendra. Her Leap Ahead teacher. We should have known.

Being a working mother, I will admit that I sometimes have guilt that I am not at home with my littles. I remember the exact day when ‘Ms. Tambra’ (Tambra Bowles) called me and notified me they had a spot for Peach, and I almost turned it down. I am so grateful that my friend Victoria Estrada, who sent both of her girls there, encouraged me to enroll Peach.

“Do it Terra! It’s amazing,“ she would tell me as she repeatedly explained how advanced both her daughters were in school, which she credited to Leap Ahead’s curriculum.

“She’s too little,” I reasoned for not placing her in pre-school. I also had a lot of apprehension at the thought of Peach in a very structured school like setting.

With ‘Auntie Chelle’ it’s a little different. Michelle has known and watched her since birth, so her tolerance for “Peach-like behavior” has been built up over the years. The teachers at Leap Ahead did not know Peach and I feared they would not find her constant question asking, or need to touch everything, as adorable.

What type of environment will she be in? How safe is it? Is it worth the additional cost?

I can tell you now without a doubt, putting Peach into Leap Ahead was one of the best decisions my husband and I could have made for our daughter. Peach loves her teachers. Like, I mean,  SCREAMS HELLO at them at the top of her lungs when she sees them in public and wants to invite them to her birthday party kind of love.

Whenever I go to pick her up, I am amazed at the wondrous things occurring in those classrooms. Peach is learning sight words, her ability to share as increased dramatically and, will you believe it, they even got her to try new vegetables for snacks.

When I try to get her to nap it takes two hours and all of my patience. They somehow do it every day. “We save her for last and rub her back.”

They love her and she loves them. They love all of the little ones in their care. Peach will continually come home and tell me all of the adorable adventures occurring at school – from leprechaun hunting, endless crafts, plays and shows they put on for parents, to learning to count “so really super-high” as Peach puts it.

Between Leap Ahead and Auntie Celle, I know my daughter is being loved on throughout the day.

I will also let you know that safety is a big concern for me, as it is with any other parent. Never – not even once – have I ever had any concern about Peach’s well being at school.

Even when we had the countywide lockdowns, which included daycare and preschools, when I called Tambra and notified her, I knew that my baby and all others that were with her were going to be safe.

Ms. Tambra has been running Leap Ahead for over a decade and it shows. When I signed Peach up, I told her I was worried about Peach behaving. Let’s face it, being still and quiet and listening are not really her strong points. Ms. Tambra stated she would be fine, and she has.

Granted, we were notified her very first day that she bit someone, but after that, the sailing has been pretty smooth.

Over a year at Leap Ahead and I am always astonished when I walk in and see my little wiggle worm of a daughter staying on task, being quiet and patient. It is the ‘Leap Ahead Magic Touch.’ All of the girls that work there are gentle, patient and loving. It takes a special type of person to work with three-to-five year old children day in and day out.

One of my favorite parts is hearing about the complexities of pre-school life from Peach very day. I get to listen to how Gage brought his dinosaur for show and tell, and how Emmy wears pretty bows, but one fell off at recess. I even have gotten the rundown on how little Gwen and Koa switched snacks once when Ms. Savanah wasn’t looking.

I love that Peach has something that is just hers. Somewhere she gets to not be known as Terra’s daughter, of Pearl’s sister. She can be Anna. A-N-N-A.

It really is true that it takes a village to raise a child, and I am so lucky that Leap Ahead and their staff is willing to be part of my village. They are one of the reasons I (and Peach/Anna) love the place we live.

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13 Responses to Why We Love This Place Wednesdays: Tambra Bowles and Leap Ahead

  1. Tambra Bowles

    Tambra Bowles

    Wednesday, July 17th, 2019 at 8:58 pm

    Thank you so much Terra for this beautiful article. It is truly a blessing getting the opportunity to with all of the amazing children and their families. I am so grateful for the parents who put their trust in my hands in helping to blossom their children into who they are today. I also couldn’t have done it without the help of my staff over the years. I look forward to enjoying Anna in my class this coming year ❤️❤️❤️❤️

  2. Tiffany Parrish

    Tiffany Parrish

    Wednesday, July 17th, 2019 at 12:37 pm

    Leap Ahead is the best!

  3. Chris Dore

    Chris Dore

    Wednesday, July 17th, 2019 at 12:01 pm

    Total Godsend….

  4. Tina Hilburn

    Tina Hilburn

    Wednesday, July 17th, 2019 at 11:59 am

    They are the best! ❤ Thank you for all you do and your continued patience and love for our kids!

  5. Nancy Alosi

    Nancy Alosi

    Wednesday, July 17th, 2019 at 9:59 am

    I agree

  6. Christina Blackburn

    Christina Blackburn

    Wednesday, July 17th, 2019 at 8:58 am

    Dee Heron

  7. Barbara Vicondoa Oxford

    Barbara Vicondoa Oxford

    Wednesday, July 17th, 2019 at 7:18 am

    Love this family❤️❤️my daughter Calli worked at Leap Ahead for over 2 years, she became very bonded with the children during that time! Now my granddaughter Aspyn is attending Leap Ahead & loves it!! Awesome program!!!!

  8. Megan Luna

    Megan Luna

    Wednesday, July 17th, 2019 at 7:15 am

    Both my kids went through leap ahead, and I worked there for a couple years! We love the Bowles family and am thankful for Tambra’s program and staff!!

  9. Crystal Lau

    Crystal Lau

    Wednesday, July 17th, 2019 at 7:10 am

    My son loved the time he spent there

  10. Becky Jordan-Dixon

    Becky Jordan-Dixon

    Wednesday, July 17th, 2019 at 6:13 am

    She is best❤❤❤

  11. Sherry Richardson Smith

    Sherry Richardson Smith

    Wednesday, July 17th, 2019 at 5:54 am

    Both of my children went through Tambra Bowles program. It was a great experience. They still run up and say hi to her and the staff members.

  12. Shonda Smith

    Shonda Smith

    Wednesday, July 17th, 2019 at 5:35 am

    They are a wonderful family!!

  13. Shonda Smith

    Shonda Smith

    Wednesday, July 17th, 2019 at 5:35 am

    Tambra Bowles Kendralyn Bowles

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