Early Years Centres move to schools

By Chad Ingram

Published Sept. 6 2016

The Ontario Early Years Centres (OEYC) in Minden and Haliburton Village have relocated to the elementary schools in those communities.

The Minden OEYC which has been located in the Sears building on Bobcaygeon Road for a number of years has moved to Room 125B at Archie Stouffer Elementary School and the Haliburton centre which has been located in the Halco Plaza has moved to Room 211 at J.D. Hodgson Elementary School.

In addition the Fenelon Falls OEYC is moving into the secondary school there.

“We moved into the classrooms very recently and are excited to be welcoming children and families to both these locations on Sept. 6” Pippa Stephenson executive director for Ontario Early Years Centres (OEYC) of Haliburton-Victoria-Brock wrote in an email to the paper. “We recognize there will be a period of transition but the staff at both schools are very supportive of the OEYC and we are looking forward to collaborating and engaging children families and students together.”

OEYCs provide early learning programs for children up to six years old as well as parenting services and programs.

According to Stephenson the decision to move was based on a number of factors including financial considerations.

“As is often the case there wasn’t one particular factor” she wrote. “The timing just worked. For well over a decade the OEYC had been leasing the spaces in Minden and Haliburton. We had great landlords however the OEYC board of directors recognized that we would need to move for a number of reasons including cost reduction and had been considering alternate spaces in both communities (in addition to Fenelon Falls) for over 18 months.

“Ideally it made sense to be in schools for children their families and the community. In early 2016 Trillium Lakelands District School Board (TLDSB) shared their pupil accommodation review in the community which prompted conversations between (TLDSB director of education) Larry Hope and myself. As both TLDSB and OEYC are funded by the Ministry of Education a partnership makes sense.

“The ministry has a vision of seamless transitions and integrated services for families with young children and has been promoting partnerships between OEYCs childcare centres and school boards across the province. Here in Haliburton County we anticipate unique and interesting enrichment opportunities that will be mutually beneficial to the OEYC participants as well as the TLSDB students.”

Staff at the centres will remain the same.

“Only the location within each community changed” Stephenson wrote. “We have the same knowledgeable friendly and supportive staff at each location. In Haliburton we still have Brenda Duncan and Wendy Baux; in Minden Julie Pearson and Jan Bronson. In addition Bev Jackson will support programming in both locations.”

In the spring the province announced $90 million in funding to help transform Ontario schools many of which have additional space available due to declining student populations into community hubs bringing in various community services including childcare.

While the OEYC transition does not benefit from that funding “we are hopeful that in the future there may be community hub funding to help support transitions such as this one” Stephenson wrote.

The OEYC is leasing space from the school board.

The TLDSB is also pleased about the partnership.

“This is an ideal partnership for our schools” board chair Louise Clodd said in a release. “It will be a wonderful opportunity for young parents to become familiar with our schools prior to registering their children in kindergarten.”

For more information about the OEYC and its programming call 705-324-7900 or visit www.oeyc.ca.