By Sarah Tuck

You have survived. Your newborn is now a real baby, or maybe your baby has become a toddler. Whereas, previously, returning to work was looking less attractive than a dip in the South Branch in February, you can now consider your impending return without crying (maybe). Of all the decisions you’ve made so far as a parent, this one may be the hardest: choosing a daycare. After all, you will be entrusting your child to the care of another person for whole days at a time. It’s therefore so important that you choose a daycare that fits your unique needs.

I’d like to share how this process led our family to the North Grenville Co-operative Pre-school and Learning Centre (NGCPLC). We were pleasantly surprised at the range of licensed centres available in Kemptville. Though each centre has its qualities, we felt something special walking through the doors of NGCPLC for the first time.

“The Co-op” is located on the Kemptville College campus, nestled in among old maple trees. This site, called Leahurst, houses the Infant, Toddler and Pre-school programs. Walking in the historic building feels so different compared to other centres we visited. Pleasant aromas waft out of the kitchen as Kerry, the chef, greets us. The rooms are bright and colourful, but not chaotic. The educators are welcoming and answer all of our questions. Amazingly, our daughter “E” walks right in, sits on the little sofa with the other kids, and starts looking at books. She is perfectly content there while Mary Jane, the founder and director, shows us around. Though we already have a gut feeling this is the right place for our family, NGCPLC passes the ultimate test: “E” seems to feel right at home.

The Co-op is a not-for-profit centre that was created to provide high quality childcare in a collaborative setting where parents, staff and children all have a voice. With smaller programs, the Co-op feels more intimate and “homey” than other centres. The Co-op’s philosophy is to foster an enriching and progressive learning experience through your child’s daily routine, where he or she engages in various forms of play – indoor and outdoor, active and quiet, teacher-led and individual exploration. Educators and other staff are dedicated to providing a safe and stimulating environment, a delicious and healthy diet, and flexibility to meet your needs.

While, at its inception, the Co-op relied on parental involvement and volunteerism, it has adapted to accommodate families whose work and personal obligations may leave them with little spare time. A nominal monthly fee now replaces the previous fundraising requirements. That being said, there are plenty of opportunities for parents to contribute, from sitting on the Board of Directors to yard clean-up.

The Co-op also runs a successful before and after school program out of Kemptville Public School. For more information about this program please visit the website below.

I hope this has given you a glimpse into a very special daycare centre. Please call Mary Jane and set up an appointment so you can decide if the Co-op is right for your family. (613) 258-9661. Website: www.ngcplc.ca

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