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Autumn open house celebrates the County’s HUB for child and family services

Staff assisted children and their families with pumpkin carving and autumn crafts during the celebration Saturday morning.

Story and photos by Olivia Timm
The rain held off, and the sun shone brightly on children, parents and staff celebrating the 20th anniversary of the HUB Child and Family Centre with fall activities indoors and outdoors.

The HUB has been at 10 McFarland Court in Picton for 20 years, but its programs have been serving the community for 28 years. It was established in 1989 as Prince Edward Child Care Services.

Over the years, the organization has flourished to include five key programs – a child care centre, resource centre, Ontario early years centre, the middle years program and home child care program.

Donna Young has been on the HUB staff from its initial stages and says that as the number of participants grows, staff become creative with locations and services.

“What happens in the summer … the daycare picks up in numbers, so this playroom that is open to the public gets used for daycare and we move out to another location.”

Young says this year outdoor programs were so successful, the group started up program in local parks for the children.

From left, HUB staff Catharine Fleddeurus, Susan Quaiff, Wendy Anderson, Kim Hicks, Margie McConnell, Donna Young, Kelly Lowe, Charlotte Miller, Sabrina Hudson, Rachel Mann. Alysha Cleland, Krystal Moore and Robin Cowan.

Kelly Lowe worked on staff for 12 years before she switched gears to serve on the board of directors for the past seven. She often refers to the HUB team as the “field of dreams” noting staff is constantly evolving and changing programs to suit families’ needs. The staff focuses its energy on engagement, expression, belonging and well-being.

It also offers programs for expectant parents, breastfeeding classes, programs especially for new moms and dads, a baby club and parenting programs.

“People really like having the services that they are getting,” she added, noting the team builds on feedback.

The HUB created a landscaped outdoor park and play area a few years ago to encourage physical activity. Children can ride on a bike path and choose from a variety of areas that promote the outdoors, and physical activities.

The outdoor play area encourages fun, physical activities. Saturday it included an obstacle course.

Lowe says it is a more natural space for the children, rather than being a stereotypical play area with just swings and slides. She said the area allows children to get their hands dirty and understand what gardening and agriculture look like.

Raking the leaves in preparation for jumping.

“I love it because the community we live in is farm country, so why wouldn’t our team show them where they get their food from? The kids who might live in town who don’t have the experience that children who live on farms might have. They are now getting the same understanding of what some of their friends’ families do,” she explained.

Kim Hicks has also been on staff since the beginning and says the centre is constantly changing to fit family needs.

It used to operate out of the space that is now City Revival, downtown Picton and has also had a home at PECI, and at the back of the former health unit location on King Street.

Executive Director Susan Quaiff enjoys watching children make some crafts.

Susan Quaiff has been with the centre for 26 years and has been the executive director for the past three.

“Over these 26 years I’ve witnessed tremendous growth and recognition of the importance of quality child care and early years programming and the positive impact this has for children before they transition to school,” she said.

As for the HUB’s future, Quaiff says there is a lot to look forward to.

“There are exciting times ahead for licensed child care expanding 100,000 spaces in the next five years while maintaining quality and affordability. The Ontario early years and resource centre programs are also in transition,” she says.

This past summer, the team opened a second location in Massassauga Rednersville. Now both locations have space for infant, toddler and preschool-age children programs.

“We are proud of our accomplishments in expanding programs and working collaboratively in the community to ensure needs of families are met,” said Quaiff. “We have focused on healthy eating, increased activity and have implemented a children’s garden at our Picton location and we hope to do the same at Massassauga Rednersville next year. Our future at the HUB is bright with the potential of expanding our space to meet our growing needs.”

“We are focusing on play-based learning throughout our programs. Our staff of Registered Early Childhood Educators and assistants are passionate about our children and families. Staff at the HUB have embraced ‘How Does Learning Happen?’ that focuses on the child, the educator, the environment and most important, the child’s first teacher – the parent.”

When Batman takes a rest from his busy day, he chooses a good storybook to read.

For more about the HUB’s programs and services, visit http://thehubcentre.ca

 

 

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