The Point Edward Early Learning Centre, known originally as the Point Edward Nursery School (pens) has been an important part of the Village of Point Edward for many years. It was started by a group of mothers, directed through a public health initiative that believed children needed to
“PLAY TO LEARN”
They agreed that their children would LEARN more when they PLAYED with their peers…so this group of young mothers organized a “play group”. The children would play with each other while the mothers interacted with other mothers, sharing their similar interests. Together, they would play and observe the children involved.
This play group met in the Point Edward United Church basement and became known as the Point Edward Co-operative Nursery School. Elizabeth VanStamm and Mabel Fourtney-Higgins, faculty members of the Early Childhood Education Program at Lambton College were instrumental in establishing the foundation for the program.
The nursery school moved across the street to the Point Edward Anglican Church and in July 1974. The small “play group” became incorporated as a nonprofit corporation under the name of Point Edward Nursery School Inc. The school was originally established as a parent co-op which meant that parents would take turns attending the school, supervising the children during their play time.
were the women who applied for the corporation and therefore were listed as the first executive of the Point Edward Nursery School.
The school applied for a license through the Ministry of Children and Youth Services.
Policies were established and regulations were dictated by the Government of Ontario.
The school established a Board of Directors that met regularly to discuss the rules and regulations of the school, set new policies and determine how the school should operate.
The Board of Directors shared a vision of how the nursery school should proceed into the future
The nursery school continued to operate every Tuesday and Thursday morning at the St. Paul’s Anglican Church.
Throughout the years, changes were made to the structure of the program. The school ceased to be a parent co-op and two afternoon sessions were added to accommodate the influx of children wanting to attend. The Board of Directors hired staff that would operate the program so that mothers could use the time to accommodate their working needs.
In 2004, under the influence of staff members Cathy Eyre and Caroline Martin, the Point Edward Nursery School left St. Paul’s Anglican Church and moved to 517 Louisa Street.
Were the board members at this time and…
Once again, they shared a vision for the future of the school
The program was expanded from the Tuesday and Thursday half day sessions to five full days a week. Families of Point Edward and the surrounding community could now access child care from 7:00am – 5:30pm five days a week.
In January of 2005, a before and after school program was started at Bridgeview Public School. This program was hosted in the library with Caroline Martin as Supervisor.
In the summer of 2005, a full day program for the school age children 6-12 years was added. This program was hosted in the basement of the Point Edward United Church.
In April 2009, the Point Edward Nursery School realized it had grown to be much more than just a nursery school so the Board of Directors voted to change the name to
Point Edward Early Learning Centre
The centre boasted a full enrolment now, with a licensed capacity of 24 children each full day and a waiting list to attend. Families definitely required full day care for their preschool age children and extended days for their school age children.
In the fall of 2010, calls from parents showed an interest in a half day program. The facility at 517 Louisa Street was FULL so growth needed to occur again in order to accommodate the need of the families. A Half Day Nursery School Program was opened once more in the basement of the Point Edward United Church—-
right back to where the playgroup had begun so many years ago!!
Thu United Church congregation opened their doors to the nursery school program two mornings per week and to the school age programs throughout the summer until June 2012, when the church announced its closure. The Church property was up for sale and the Point Edward Early Learning Centre investigated the possibilities of purchasing the property. The Board of Directors voted unanimously to make the move.
Once again they shared a vision!!
The purchase would bring all the programs of the Point Edward Early Learning Centre back together under one roof, creating a single point of access for all the families utilizing the services. The purchase of the United Church and renovation of the property would also allow for further expansion. A toddler program, designed for the younger child (18 – 31 months) was added.
Following the needs of the families of our community, the renovation project began and the move back into 213 Michigan Avenue occurred in December 2012.
Thanks to another dedicated Board of Directors that shared a vision for the future:
2012 Board of Directors
…and thanks to the many community partners
- Point Edward ExServicemen’s Club
- Village of Point Edward
- County of Lambton-Children Services Department
- Point Edward Optimist Association
- All our families and friends
…and thanks also to the dedicated staff members working at the centre:
- Cathy Eyre
- Caroline Martin
- Brenda Henry
- Karen Desrosiers
- Brittany Pask
- Gina Benway
- Janice Smith
- Michelle Scott
- Kandyce Taylor
- Tyler Clarke
- Laura Mele
Three years later…
Point Edward Early Learning Centre continues to evolve at the location on Michigan Avenue in Point Edward.
Outdoor play spaces have been established in both the toddler and preschool areas. A large maple tree and four evergreen trees create a grove at the back of the yard. Cedar trees line the fence area against the parking lot to help with privacy. A shade cover has been placed over both sand boxes. Storage shelters are in place to house the outdoor play equipment and necessary maintenance tools.
Further growth occurred in August, 2015 with the addition of a preschool classroom located in the local public school (Bridgeview) at 205 Albert Street, Point Edward.
This classroom environment has provided the Point Edward Early Learning Centre with much needed additional spaces for the preschool aged child. It also provides families with a means of transitioning into the world of a traditional school classroom in preparation for JK/SK at the age of 4 years.
The Point Edward Early Learning Centre now prepares to celebrate their 50th Anniversary.
50 years of providing child care within our community is certainly something to celebrate!
Thanks to the many people who have contributed throughout the years and shared in the VISION.