We have a bit of an announcement: on Tuesday, February 21, Today’s Family is opening a new child care centre in the also-brand-new Tiffany Hills School in Ancaster! With opening day less than a week away (!!!), we decided to pay a visit to the new location and see what’s up. Luckily, we got the chance to sit down with Debbie Buote, our Program Coordinator at Tiffany Hills and ask her a few questions about the new program.
TODAY’S FAMILY: What are the different programs that are available here at Tiffany Hills?
DEBBIE: We have Before and After School, and we also have a full-day Toddler Room and a Preschool Room. For our Toddler room, we can have up to 15 toddlers. For our Preschool Room, we can have up to 24. And for our School Age, we can have up to 26 kinders, and up to 30 school agers.
TODAY’S FAMILY: What kind of atmosphere are you trying to create here?
DEBBIE: We want to create a positive atmosphere. We want, in terms of staff, we want an atmosphere where staff feel safe to be themselves and provide quality care for the children, because I think that if you support your staff, they will be there for the children. And for the families, we want to create a warm, welcoming place to help with their transitions – we know some younger children have trouble with transition – so we really want to help that along, especially for mothers who are going back to work, and families that this might be a brand new experience for. We want to give them a safe place to leave their children and know that they’re loved and cared for, and then come back at the end of the day to pick them up.
TODAY’S FAMILY: Is it exciting to get into a school from Day One, instead of building a program in an already-established school environment?
DEBBIE: It’s really exciting to be here and get to build this program from the ground up, in this brand new school. We’ve been working side-by-side with the teachers, actually physically unpacking boxes, and building our rooms from the ground up. The school has been very positive – the custodial staff has been wonderful, and we’re working really hard to build those relationships with the school.
TODAY’S FAMILY: It’s really snowy right now, but what kinds of outdoor play can we expect when it warms up and gets a bit greener?
DEBBIE: We would love to use our green space that the school has given us. We’d like to do some gardening. We definitely want to get the children out in their community, recognizing street signs, and colours, and numbers on houses that we can bring back to our literacy. But definitely building the garden outside, growing flowers, vegetables, and fruit that they can bring in and have. We also have a lot of really nice bikes to keep our school-age children going, keep them physically active. And we’ve got separate toddler, and preschool areas outside.
TODAY’S FAMILY: What’s special about Tiffany Hills?
DEBBIE: I think it’s great that we’re close to our Greendale and R.A. Riddell locations (less than a 10 minute drive away). It’s easy to drive over there, talk to the teachers over there, make connections with their kitchen, so it’s really great when locations are close to each other, so they can build off of each other. Being in this nice growing community is great, because as new families are moving in, they’re going to be looking for care, so for there to be an already established child care centre is really important. One of the things I’ve noticed about Ancaster is that families really care about the care that their children are receiving. They’re asking wonderful, full questions about our curriculum and wondering how we’re going to prepare their children for school, and how we’re meeting the needs that children have, which are wonderful questions to be asked.
TODAY’S FAMILY: When you talk about connections with the other centres – what are we talking about here?
DEBBIE: Well, we’re a new program so we don’t have a big demand for camps yet, we’ve already had a few of our children sign up for camps at (R.A.) Riddell, so it’s great to have a centre so close that we can refer parents to if we’re not running a PA Day camp or a March Break camp.
TODAY’S FAMILY: And that’s so important, for parents to be able to access services that might not be in a particular centre yet.
DEBBIE: Exactly. And being so close, we can share staff, give each other relief. Having the same faces going from centre to centre, parents love that, because then you’re seeing consistency with your children, which is so important.
After sitting down to talk with us, Debbie showed us around the centre. Today’s Family has its own separate wing of the school – complete with high ceilings, towering windows (there’s so much natural light!) and cubbies for coats and backpacks. There are a couple things that didn’t come up in our conversation that are pretty cool too: like the brand-new kitchen (the stove was delivered that morning. Quote Debbie: “I’m actually really envious!”) that will be the home of the centre’s full-time chef.
Thank you to Debbie for taking time out of her busy schedule to talk with us, and thank you for reading! Next week we’ll be taking another field trip to a different location, but until then, let us know how excited you are about this new Today’s Family location by tweeting at us (@TodaysFamilyOnt) or on Facebook (Today’s Family Early Learning and Child Care).
Until next time,
– Today’s Family