A year ago at this time, we didn’t know what was to come.
We were planning programs for the 2020 March Break and gathering valuable feedback from families regarding what we could do to improve our programs as well as what families enjoyed and valued about The Old Millbrook School EarlyON Child and Family Centre. In mid-March we closed our doors to in person programs, started offering virtual program and waited until the day we could gather together again in person.
When you choose to work with the community, with children and families, a global pandemic isn’t a part of your long-term plan. You choose this work because of so many things but for most people working in Early Learning and Care would say that human connection was a huge factor in choosing their career path. We are helpers. Is this because the field is mainly represented by those who identify as female? I don’t think so. I think it is more innate, it’s a part of who we are. It is what pushes us to keep working hard and offering so much passion for what we do when so many around us undervalue and exclude our sector when important decisions are made. We truly love what we do. So, when we think of engagement during long closure periods, during a time when some are struggling with job loss, their health, food insecurity and uncertainties all around them, we must take a step back. We begin to think about what we can offer when we feel so far away from one and other.
We have tried to curate a selection of programs and supports over the last year that was thoughtful, intention, aligned with best practice and sensitive to the varying realities families were facing. We set forth to create offerings that worked for as many families as possible. Our virtual programs over the last year have been a mix of interactive programs over Zoom such as Music and Movement, Let’s Connect for first time families with an infant under a year and two Self-Reg evening Book Clubs. We pre-recorded Story Times, outdoor invitations to play, wonder and discover together and we shared videos from experts such as Dr. Jean Clinton, Dr. Stuart Shanker, and Ann Douglas, as well as so many other offerings and resources.
Then in October we opened our programs once again to in person program offerings that took place outside. We took all the education, experience and research we have available to us within our Educator Team and in the broader community and created opportunities for families to gather together on the beautiful land which our program sits. We were so grateful to see families in person for the three months in the fall before pivoting once more to virtual programs for a couple of months at the beginning of 2021.
We are so happy to share that on March 1st, we will once again be offering in person programs which will take place outside. All of our offerings can be found on our website, http://www.millbrookfamilycentre.com and as events on our Facebook Page https://www.facebook.com/millbrookfamilycentre
All programs require all participants to register in advance as we are not permitted to offer drop-in programs at the present time. We have a motto at The Old Millbrook School EarlyON Child and Family Centre. “There is no such thing as bad weather”, so dust off your outdoor gear and register today to join us for some of our programs. Let’s experience the magic of spring slowly easing its way back again as winter takes it’s leave for the time being.
We can’t wait to see you.
By Nancy Hurley, EarlyON Child and Family Centre Administrator