A Ukranian couple received a thumbs-up Tuesday from Palatine’s advisory plan commission for a proposed day-care center in a renovated office building, but not before an official wanted assurances that children would learn English at the facility.
Oksana and Igor Klishch want to convert the 5,650-square-foot building at 345 N. Quentin Road into Dreamers Child Care, which would be geared for children 6 weeks to 5 years old. They hope to open within a year.
At Tuesday night’s plan commission session, Oksana Klishch said the couple opened the first in Glenview two years ago, which was preceded by their home-based Once Upon a Time child-care business in 2004. Teachers fluent in English, Ukranian and Spanish are among the employees at the Glenview facility, she said.
“Each room has one American teacher, one Ukranian teacher,” she added.
Longtime plan commission member Conrad Hansen expressed concern about whether the young children would learn English at Dreamers.
“There’s nothing wrong with learning the mother tongue,” Hansen said. “I have nothing against that. It’s just that I’d like you to also teach them English so that they could be prepared for school.”
Oksana Klishch said the children learn English, and about 80 percent of families who send their children to Dreamers in Glenview are American, while about 20 percent are Ukranian. The Palatine facility would draw from a growing Ukranian community in the village and nearby towns, including Schaumburg, Hoffman Estates and Arlington Heights.
Hansen, who could not be reached Wednesday to elaborate his concerns, joined other commission members in recommending approval of the plan. The matter is scheduled to go before the Palatine village council for final consideration Aug. 6.
Plan Commission Chairman Dennis Dwyer briefly addressed Hansen’s comments about English learning when contacted Wednesday.
“It was an expression of his personal opinions,” said Dwyer, who declined further comment.
In an executive summary about family-owned Dreamers provided to the village, Igor and Oksana Klishch said they emigrated from Ukraine to the United States in 2001.
Iryna Klishch, the couple’s daughter, spoke to the plan commission after Hansen raised his concerns.
“I thought I had to choose one, whether to be Ukranian or have that American culture,” she said. “And so by allowing somebody to have both at the same time … I think that allows children to recognize they don’t have to be one thing.”
Plans call for the Klishch family’s Palatine day-care facility to accommodate a maximum 66 children, with five classrooms, a kitchen for homemade meals and indoor and outdoor play areas.