Early Years move a natural progression
|By Lisa Gervais - Editor | Nov. 24, 2016|
Future Ontario Early Years Centre (OEYC) client, Nolan Gallagher lays in his mother’s arms as the ribbon is cut to officially open the relocated centre at Archie Stouffer Elementary School (ASES) in Minden.
At just five weeks old, it’s all a bit of a blur for Nolan but older sister Haileigh is busy playing.
“He’ll be coming often, like we did with Haileigh,” says mom, Courtney Gallagher.
Courtney said with the exception of sometimes having to park quite a ways away, the move to ASES has been good for Haileigh.
“It’s great as it gets her familiar with school. She gets to be in a school atmosphere,” Courtney said.
For more than 20 years, the OEYC in Minden was based out of the Sears building but reopened Sept. 6 at the local elementary school.
At the ribbon cutting, there were representatives of the OEYC, the Trillium Lakelands District School Board and ASES, Point in Time, and Minden Reeve Brent Devolin and councillors Jeanne Anthon and Jean Neville.
Pippa Stephenson, executive director for OEYC Haliburton Victoria Brock spoke.
“I am excited we are here in Archie Stouffer,” she said. “ The families that attend the OEYC will become the families that make up the Archie Stouffer community. The children will become the students here, and they will be familiar with the building, the halls, some of the school routines and traditions, some of the students and staff and they will likely even meet some of their future classmates. All this helps with a seamless transition to school. Parents and caregivers also feel comfortable and a sense of belonging, which makes the first day of school easier on everyone.
“When OEYCs are in schools, it makes the OEYC stronger, the school stronger and most importantly, the community stronger.”
She also thanked staff Julie Pearson, Jan Bronson and Bev Jackson for “embracing the change … I love what you’ve done with the place.”
Pearson said it was emotional leaving a space the OEYC had occupied for so many years but they have been welcomed by school staff and students. She said it makes sense to have the OEYC in a school. “It feels like a natural progression.”
TLDSB executive director Larry Hope said the school board was thrilled with the new partnership with the OEYC. ASES principal, Jane Austin, said the move has been beneficial for the school as well. She said it was delightful having “wee ones in the building. There’s something about a baby … warmth, comfort and safety.” She said her students are responding to, and welcoming of, the young children.
Laura Porzuczek and her daughter Kinsley attended the ribbon cutting. Laura is a fan of having the OEYC at ASES since her son, Jozef, started Junior Kindergarten at the school earlier this fall.
“It has made it easier and it is convenient,” she said.
On Sept. 6, the OEYC in Haliburton also moved into a school (J.D. Hodgson Elementary). The moves were partly made for financial reasons, since the centres had leased space in both communities, and because there was room in the schools. The OEYC is leasing space in the schools.
OEYCs provide early learning programs for children up to six years old, as well as parenting services and programs.
For more information about the OEYC and its programming, call 705-324-7900 or visit www.oeyc.ca.
LISA GERVAIS is the editor for The Highlander.