About

Eramosa Learning Academy operates licensed early learning and school-age child care, as well as school break camps, in Guelph and Rockwood, Ontario.
First opening a before and after school program in September 2003 as Guelph School-Age CARE (GS CARE), 20 years on, Eramosa Learning Academy has expanded programming to serve children from toddlers to grade 6 year-round.
Licensed by the Ontario Ministry of Education, Eramosa Learning Academy's emergent curriculum child care programs offer fun, safe, reliable, and high-quality child care services to families in Guelph & Wellington County. Our focus is on creating an environment that supports intellectual growth and social, emotional, and physical skill development through daily programming.

ELA Team

Nomalanga (Noma) Vales

Owner & Pedagogical Leader

The founder of Eramosa Learning Academy, Noma operates ELA with a hands-on approach. Through regular program visits, mentorship of staff, and participating in operator meetings with the County of Wellington, she plays a daily active role in maintaining high-quality standards. As Pedagogical Leader, Noma provides professional development support to supervisors and staff.

A resident of Guelph since 1984, Noma enjoyed a career in forest soil management and plant disease research at the University of Guelph before deciding to switch to another passion: Early Childhood Education.

Graduating from the ECE program at Conestoga College in 1997 and gaining experience at the University of Guelph Child Care and Learning Centre, she opened her first before and after school program as Guelph School-Age CARE (GS CARE) in September 2003.

Alenka Watson

Director of Programs

A seasoned child care leader, Alenka is responsible for the execution of high-quality programs for ELA. She leads staff and supervisors in all daily programming, assesses all programs for quality and opportunities for enhancement, and acts as a liaison for parents and community partners. She can be found visiting programs to provide direct support and attending meetings with stakeholders.

An RECE since gaining an Early Childhood Education diploma from Lambton College in 2002, Alenka also holds a certificate in Human Resources Management.

A new resident of Fergus, Alenka joined ELA as the Director of Programs in 2023. She was most recently the Executive Director of the Seaforth Cooperative Children’s Centre, a 3 location program serving children from infants to Grade 6 near Stratford, ON.

Nanette O'Sullivan

Director of Enrollment

With her extensive experience in early childhood education, Nanette oversees the registration of all ELA programs and services. She is the first point of contact for onboarding new families and a mentor to her Enrollment team.  Previously the Programs Manager of GS CARE, Nanette led a team of program supervisors in supporting the daily activities of each site, as well as liaising with families on joining programs and providing needed development support for children.

Nanette began her training in early childhood education in her native city of Liverpool, earning the Nursery Nurse Examination Board (NNEB) qualifications. Arriving in Canada in 1987 and the Guelph area in 1990, Nanette continued in the field and graduated from the ECE program at Conestoga College in 1994.

After gaining continued experience with a variety of age groups, she joined Guelph School-Age CARE in 2010.

Yvonne Vales

Director of Operations

Tasked with managing the finances and facilities of ELA, Yvonne is responsible for items like the implementation of funding programs (including CWELCC and fee subsidies), administration of payroll and benefits, and ensuring programs have the resources they need to provide high quality care.

Born and raised in Guelph, Yvonne moved to Toronto to attend the University of Toronto and stayed in the region until a recent return to Guelph. After gaining experience in marketing and business operations in the jewellery industry, she joined ELA in 2019.

Yvonne first worked with children as a Tennis Canada-certified tennis instructor in Guelph and Toronto. Upon joining ELA, she completed her ECE diploma through St. Lawrence College in 2022.

Ben Hoekstra

Camp Coordinator

Ben began working in children's camps over a decade ago. His unique background in administering and planning curriculum for ages 0-17 has provided him with valuable experience working with children of all abilities. Ben oversees ELA's Camp Department which operates: PD Days, Winter Break, March Break and Summer Break camps. In addition to Camp responsibilites, he will be found in our Before & After School program as a dedicated support staff for various locations.

Most recently graduating with a Psychology degree from Queen's University, Ben holds a Recreation and Leisure Services diploma from Conestoga College.

In addition to working accross Canada in various Camps, Ben has travelled the world on cruise ships planning and administering curriculum for their on-board Child Care services. On land, he has worked most recently with the YMCA of Three Rivers in their Before & After School programs.

ELA Staff Profiles

staff feature

Paula-Kay Carr

St. Ignatius of Loyala Catholic School Before & After School
3 Years with Eramosa Learning Academy 

Paula is a dedicated educator who embarked on her professional career path after graduating with a bachelor degree in Child & Youth Care from Humber College in 2020. During her studies, Paula worked closely with children with a range of mental and physical abilities. This experience left an indelible mark on her, helping to form the compassionate lens in which she views her work. What truly captivated Paula during this time was witnessing the remarkable growth of the children she worked with, even within the constraints of a relatively short timeframe. She thrives on the challenge of thinking on her feet to solve problems as they arise. Her adaptability and flexibility have been vital assets in working with children. 

Since 2020, Paula has been a staple of the Eramosa Learning Academy team. Beginning her ELA journey at St. Paul Catholic Elementary School, Paula is now entering her third year at the St. Ignatius of Loyola before and after school program. Her commitment to the growth and well-being of students under her care is unwavering, and her compassionate approach ensures that every child she works with receives the attention and support they need to thrive.

Paula is also part of the ELA camps team, spending school breaks creating a fun and informative environment that fosters growth and new friendships.

August 2023

Claire Leyland, RECE

Sacred Heart Catholic School Before & After School Supervisor
Recognizing 9 Years with Eramosa Learning Academy 

A passionate and dedicated Registered Early Childhood Educator (RECE), Claire is retiring after the 2022-2023 school year following decades of nurturing young minds. Claire joined our before and after school team in 2014 after operating her own home child care centre. Her departure leaves nine years of colleagues and a community of ELA families who witnessed the remarkable impact she had on many children. Throughout her career, Claire exemplified the philosophy of child-led learning by listening to interests and providing children with an abundance of tools to pursue learning. Ever resourceful, this was demonstrated by The Year of Glass Bottles.

A donation of glass bottles to the program provided a year's worth of learning when the bottles evolved to contain various experiments, art projects and natural elements.

Children in Claire's care enjoyed the benefit of her unwavering belief in the power of play to allow students to explore their curiosities, tap into their imaginations, and develop critical skills at their own pace. On behalf of our staff and the community of Scared Heart: Thank you Claire! 

June 2023

Krystal Wilcox, RECE

St. Ignatius Catholic School Before & After School Supervisor & ELA Administrator
Recognizing 10 Years with Eramosa Learning Academy 

Krystal's dedication to working with children, combined with her experience as a mother, influenced her decision to pursue a second career in Early Childhood Education in 2012. After completing her studies at Mothercraft College in Toronto and becoming a Registered Early Childhood Educator (RECE), she quickly secured employment with: the school board, ELA (formerly GS CARE) and another local centre. Her leadership and diverse skill set have been an asset to the program staff she leads at the St. Ignatius before and after school program. There, she provides on-site support to colleagues and children and oversees the quality of the daily programming. You may also occasionally see her providing support at one of the other ELA after school programs. Between program, she assists with administrative duties. 

Krystal thrives in a team environment. So much so, she has taken the lead on recruitment: if you have had an interview lately you may have met her! 

I get the most professional satisfaction by supporting my colleagues in program and being a part of a team. I work better with people around to bounce ideas off of and collaborate.

Krystal will be joining our team at Rockwood Early Learning Centre this summer where she looks forward to getting to know the families and children.