About Us

About Us

Our Story

BrightStart Children’s Academy has been providing full-service professional early learning and childcare for Greater Vancouver neighbourhoods since 2009.  We are a locally made solution to the childcare needs of Lower Mainland families which means we are not associated with any daycare "chains" or franchises.

BrightStart’s core value is to “nurture a child’s growth”.  We see growth in children being similar to a tender seedling; both requiring patience and nurturing to grow into their potential.

What does this mean?

To us, a nurturing environment means that hugs and a sense of acceptance and belonging are as much part of our daily routine as our Emergent Curriculum. We  believe that children who feel safe and cared for will develop the confidence, maturity and knowledge to meet life’s challenges and opportunities. Within this framework of a "nurturing environment", our teachers all work toward Kindergarten-Readiness .


Evelyn Tsai & Carol Wiens,  Co-founders & Directors

Evelyn and Carol met when their children were in the same Kindergarten class back in 1997. Their girls' playdates together made them become very close friends. Together, they opened the first BrightStart Children's Academy on July 2nd, 2009 in Port Coquitlam. Two year later in 2011, they opened their second location in Coquitlam. Their third location in Burnaby opened its doors on July 2014, and their fourth location in Surrey opened in July 2018. 

Evelyn has worn many hats within the early childhood field, from being a Childcare Facility Manager to ECE instructor and college program coordinator.   In addition to her ECE license, she also holds a Bachelor of Arts degree.  Evelyn has always had a soft heart for children and feels blessed to help families.

Carol has handled the administration and marketing of BrightStart for the last 10 years.  Her experience resides in small business operations, marketing and sales.  When her children were younger, Carol provided child care in her home.  In addition to a Bachelor of Commerce degree, she also worked as a medical laboratory technician in her younger days.  Carol counts it a privilege to impact families through the care that BrightStart provides.

Sadly, BrightStart Children's Academy lost Carol in June 2019 when she lost her battle to cancer. 

Front-line Team



Facility Managers/Principals 

Paige Knisley, ECE-A  Principal/ Facility Manager – Riverwood Gate

Paige has been working in the field since 2019, starting in our Out of School Program at Riverwood Gate before becoming Facility Manger. She moved to Vancouver 8 years ago from Ontario, where she lived there for 12 years. Paige loves the innocence, curiosity, and fun she gets to share with the children here at BrightStart and takes to heart the best advice she's ever received - to appreciate the little things in life!

Seri Kwon, ECE/SNE  Principal/ Facility Manager – Westwood Plateu

Seri has been working in the ECE field for 5 years. She has her diploma in Early Childhood Education and a bachelors degree in Child and Youth Care. Seri also worked as a behavior interventionalist for children with additional needs. Seri feels as students, educators and professionals working in the childcare field, we are constantly learning just as children also are. Seri loves listening to music and even worked in the KPOP concert industry for around 5 years! 

Jennie Laxamana, RA  Principal/ Facility Manager – Bainbridge

Jennie has been working in the field for over 20 years. Her experience comes from working in various daycares and preschools across the Lower Mainland. She also worked at a clinic in Richmond specializing on children with autism and learning behaviours. She believes that educators hold the responsibility to create a safe environment that embrace a child's individuality and foster their curiosity about the world. She also has a passion for visual art and loves sharing this love of art with young children. 

Pinky Sanchez, B.A., ITE/ECE/SNE  Principal/Facility Manager - Cloverdale

Pinky has a background in education and has hands-on experience in childcare having been in the field or more than a decade. She worked as an Infant Toddler Educator in the Cloverdale I/T Program before assuming the position of Facility Manager. Pinky considers it a priviledge that she is able to help children build confidence and reach milestones in life. 



Nikki Teves, B.A., ECE-A  Executive Manager

Nikki has several years experience in corporate administration, however her interest was sparked in continuing her career with children while working as a teacher and site manager at Gymboree Philippines. In 2016 she moved to Vancouver and got her ECE-A license.  She worked briefly in the 3-5 Room at Riverwood Gate before moving on to become the Principal/Facility Manager of the Bainbridge Campus from 2016-2019. Nikki loves nurturing independence in children and it delights her to see children doing things on their own. She firmly believes that they are capable of doing so much if you are willing to teach them. She is happy to work with a team that works to that end. Nikki’s calm demeanour is an asset to parents when problems arise. In addition to her ECE-Assistant license, Nikki has a Bachelor of Arts degree.

Vienna Crowley, B.A,  Administrative Support

Over the years, Vienna has contributed to all of our campuses in various capacities (classroom teacher and program support).   Her experience in the classroom, along with her Bachelor's degree and 3 minors in Early Learning, Curriculum & Instruction, and Learning and Developmental Disabilities from Simon Fraser University)  have allowed her to now support all of our campuses administratively.  She is always ready to find out about your day and has an excellent memory for names.