Our Philosophy

Each child has the right to be provided with a safe, healthy preschool environment, which enhances that child's home life and situation. Such an environment should stimulate the child to explore, while promoting a sense of self-reliance, self-esteem and autonomy. 

Each child is entitle to quality relationships through social interaction, mutual respect, verbal stimulation and positive role models. In order to achieve optimum developmental growth, each child should initiate learning experiences and dictate his or her own rate of growth while simultaneously being reassured and encouraged by the presence and direction of caring adults. 

About The Teachers

Ellen James

Ellen James is the co-founder of Advantage Preschool and has been teacher/administrator with Laura since its inception in 1987. During this time, she has raised two amazing sons, has been actively involved in her community and school-related activities and has been a tireless advocate for children on a global level. 

As a teacher, Ellen has been described as genuine, loving, intuitive, and responsive to children's individual needs and temperaments. Most of all, she is FUN! She inspires her students to be creative, take risks, and challenge themselves in the safe and welcoming environment she creates. She encourages good citizenship in the values she promotes: Sharing, cooperation, friendship and respect. 


Laura Miks

Laura Miks is the co-founder of Advantage Preschool and has been teacher/administrator with Ellen since its inception in 1987. During this time, she has raised a wonderful family with her husband Ed, and has been involved in a variety of professional development opportunities as both participant and presenter. 

As a teacher, Laura brings nurture into the classroom, as she effortlessly earns the trust of even the most reticent student. She maintains an engaging, inspiring art corner, where experimentation and process are valued above the end product. Through her gentle guidance and intuitive approach, each child is able to find their own special place, and thrive in the classroom they call home for a part of each day. 


As teachers, educators and mothers, Ellen and Laura can provide valuable insight to parents and families with young children; they are useful advocates and cheerleaders to all who seek their advice or an exchange of ideas!

Our Facilities & Classroom


Our South Slope Location

Advantage Preschool is located in classroom 7 of the RIverway West School in Burnaby's sunny South Slope neighbourhood. This South Central location conveniently serves the South/Central Burnaby, Champlain Heights, Richmond and New Westminster communities. 

Riverway West features inspiring landscapes for preschoolers to explore, play and learn as they connect with nature. The open grass field, wooded "forest" area and rolling hills scattered with mature oak, fir and cherry blossom trees create an exciting, ever changing outdoor classroom waiting to be discovered.


Our Classroom

The classroom is bright, airy and inviting with direct outdoor access and adjoining child-size washroom facilities. It is designed to stimulate each child to explore and discover, while promoting self-reliance, self-esteem, and a sense of wonder. As the year progresses, this environment reflects the passions and interested of the students and teachers and continues to grow as their knowledge of the world around them evolves.


Book Nook

Our dedicated book area provides a calm space for students to explore books on their own terms; to create pictures in their mind, stimulate their imaginations, make connections to what they already know, tell stories based on pictures and  recognize letters and words.


Dramatic Play

Our "house corner" and dress-up box encourage imaginative and cooperative play, while gaining an understanding about the world around them through role play. They also learn how to take turns and move from parallel play to interactive play. 

Science Centre

The science area helps our students solve problems, discover how things work, take risks, ask questions and explore possible answers, and learn to predict and observe. Our science area includes our long-time friend, Gulliver the turtle, and several zippy goldfish.


Block Corner

Building blocks are a classic toy for all children - students let their imaginations run wild with block construction, which also improves fine and gross motor skills. It also helps them learn to sort, classify and count, work cooperatively with others and problem-solve. 

Drawing & Art

Our students explore their creativity through individual drawings and art as well as teacher-led art projects. Students learn to experiment with different sizes, shapes, and materials, including the ever-popular painting station, while working on their fine motor skills. 


Games & Puzzles

Puzzles are a hit with our students, who learn to pattern and sequence, recognize colours and shapes, explore spacial orientation and learn patience and perseverance. Cooperative game play also encourages counting, problem-solving and turn-taking.

Loved by Burnaby: Our Awards

Advantage Preschool is one of Burnaby's most beloved preschools, earning several national, provincial and regional awards for an unwavering commitment to quality Early Childhood Education, and a passion for inclusion, creativity and individual support. For 11 consecutive years, Advantage Preschool has been awarded the "Best of Burnaby" preschool award. 

In 2006, Ellen James was awarded the Prime Minister's Award for Excellence in Early Childhood Education. 

In 2007, Advantage Preschool was presented with the Provincial Award of Excellence by the Ministry of Families and Children as recognition of innovation and a lifetime of commitment to young BC children and their families.