Spotlight on Success

Ontario is transforming its early years and child care system. Our goal is to give every child the best possible start in life, and put them on a path to future success.

Our early years partners are essential to this plan. Their expertise, knowledge, and professionalism are invaluable to the families and children of Ontario.

This early years spotlight page recognizes amazing work being done across Ontario's early years and child care sector.

That's why we want to hear from you. Please send us your early years and child care success stories or unique approaches that you think could be showcased on this page for others to learn from.
Send your stories to: EDU-EYD@ontario.ca

EarlyON in London

EarlyON planning session in the City of London As we work toward the province-wide integration of Ontario's child and family programs, the City of London is taking a unique approach, working closely with sector partners and engaging the community in new ways.

Ontario is moving forward with its commitment to integrate four child and family programs into a cohesive system of services and supports for children aged 0-6 and their families. Last fall, we launched the new EarlyON/ON y va brand, to improve awareness about the high quality child and family programs available in local communities.

In London, the City with their Child and Youth Network Community Partners, is using a Family-Centred Service System approach to enhance the EarlyON Child and Family Centres by embedding them into the larger Family Centre model. This includes co-locating these Centres within London's Family Centres. London is working collaboratively with the four school boards in the area (Thames Valley DSB, London Catholic DSB, CS Viamonde, and CSC Providence) to identify sites for local EarlyON Child and Family Centres within priority neighbourhoods. This includes two new school builds that will each be home to a new Family Centre and EarlyON Child and Family Centre.

 “Transformative change requires thinking differently at all levels. We believe that in order to make real change in how families are supported, we need to think differently at all levels. Whether planning at the system level or the neighbourhood level; whether operating at a senior leadership level, the service delivery level, or any and all levels in between, individuals and organizations must commit to a cultural change in thinking about how they approach their work.”
Lynne Livingstone
Managing Director, Neighbourhood, Children, and Fire Services
The City of London

All Family Centres in London currently have Community Connectors. These are warm and welcoming faces that families see when they first walk into a Centre. Community Connectors are knowledgeable professionals who proactively help families by linking them to the services and supports they need. They not only know who to call, but are also prepared to make the call together with families. This approach has served London families well, which is why the City will ensure Community Connectors are available in all EarlyON Child and Family Centre programs.

In addition, London is working on implementing its vision for an early years system that increases access to Indigenous-led child care and child and family centre programs offering culturally responsive programming. Moreover, due to the high demand for French language programming, the City has increased the total number of French-language early years programs across the community.

Dryden Urban Indigenous Homeward Bound Project

This is a great example of excellent partnership in the community of Dryden. The Kenora District Services Board received $2.98 million, over two years, for a Child and Family Program and Licensed Child Care Centre.

This project will support approximately 30 new child care spaces and create culturally relevant programming for approximately 200 children and families.

Licensed child care and early years programs are a key piece of The Dryden Urban Indigenous Homeward Bound Project, which is a collaboration between the Dryden Native Friendship Centre, The Kenora District Services Board (KDSB), Ontario Aboriginal Housing Services, The Dryden Literacy Association, Confederation College and The City of Dryden.

The project aims to help approximately 10 to 15 women every year. It is modelled after Homeward Bound, a province-wide initiative that helps Indigenous single mothers obtain a college degree by providing housing, tuition and child care. The program invests in women to help break the cycle of poverty. We know that access to licensed child care and early years services is an important lever to support women in the workforce. This initiative complements a number of government initiatives, including the Poverty Reduction Strategy and Community Hubs. As part of The Journey Together: Ontario's Commitment to Reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples, we have been working with Indigenous-led organizations and municipal partners to increase the number of culturally relevant child care spaces as well as child and family programs for First Nation, Métis and Inuit children and their families living in urban and rural areas.

EarlyON Initiatives in Kitchener-Waterloo

Resource booklet created by Our Place, Kitchener-Waterloo Our Place Family Resource and Early Years Centre (Our Place), an EarlyON Child and Family Centre service provider, has been engaged in exploring pedagogy in child and family program settings and building on capacity of OEYCs WR for implementation and adaptation of pedagogy. Our Place has created an independent resource booklet, How Does Learning Happen? Ontario's Pedagogy for the Early Years in Ontario Early Years Centres Waterloo Region. The booklet serves as a useful, wide-ranging tool to support professional development and sharing best practices. It uses Ontario's Pedagogy for the Early Years as the foundation for building pedagogical approaches to guide child and family programs and services, and support inclusive and welcoming community spaces.

“My child and I come here every day and love being here and in the programs. Until you engaged with me in pedagogy and HDLH I had no idea of the thinking behind all the activities and interactions! I thought they just happened and were fun! Now I know the intentionality and impact. Wow!” 
Parent at Our Place, Kitchener-Waterloo

A key learning of this work is the uniqueness of the challenges and opportunities in implementation and adaptation of pedagogy in child and family centres. In order to share knowledge and innovative approaches, Pedagogical Team Leaders from Our Place are engaging with early years professionals across the province, including spending time in child and family programs, observing, engaging and reflecting with staff and working together in developing customized pedagogical professional development.

For more information please contact:

Jennifer Jordan
Early Years Manager and Project Lead,
Our Place Family Resource and Early Years Centre, Kitchener
jjordan@ourplacekw.ca
519-571-1626 ext. 26