Saturday, February 19, 2011

Westboro Village Co-operative Preschool - Open House - March 2nd

This lovely neighbourhood preschool is having an open house at 470 Roosevelt Avenue (on the second floor of the Westminster Presbyterian Church, two streets west of Churchill and just south of Byron) on March 2nd from 6:30-8:00 pm.

If you are thinking of putting a child in preschool I can assure you that this one is worth checking out.  My oldest son attended for 2 years and loved every minute, made good friends and got lots of energy out in the big gym.  (My middle son refused to attend, but that's another story, and the reason why I can do another post about the Westboro Nursery School in the Dovercourt building!)

I'm aware of  4 non-profit preschools in the neighbourhood and each one has its own features.  Location of course is key for most people.  If you can walk to preschool so much the better.  Who's attending?  If your child knows other children in the class it can ease the initial separation anxiety and also make it a chance for you to connect with parents you know.  Is the school "a fit" for your child and you?  That's a bit more difficult to describe but you'll know it when it's there.  The setting, the teachers, the other students, the routine, even the other parents all play into this.

Some key features of the WVCP program that are worth noting and that distinguish it from others:

The Programs:
  • students can start as early as 2 years old (most preschools are for 2 1/2 and up);
  • 2 spaces are kept available for childrren who are 2 by December 31st.;
  • classes run from 9:15-11:30 with an optional lunch program available;
  • classes for the 2s are on Tuesdays and Thursdays and for the 3s are on Monday, Wednesday and Friday;
  • there is an afternoon program for 3s and 4s (after morning JK) that runs on Monday, Tuesday and Friday from 12:30-3:30;
  • it has a weekly optional french program from 11:30 - 2:00 for the 3s program.
Other Attributes:
  • it's diaper friendly (disposable or cloth);
  • it has a full size gym with lots of toys (including lots of ride-ons!) so the children get their energy out for the last 1/2 hour of the program!
  • the Director, Sue Ellen Nevala, has been with the school since 2004.  She is ECE qualified, has a qentle approach with the children and lots of experience;
  • It has a lovely music teacher - Nancy Lockwood - who engages incredibly well, up-close and hands-on-instruments with the little crowd;
  • it requires parents to assist with duty days and other co-operative responsibilities; it may be more intense than other co-ops in this regard but it may also be worth it!
  • the motto is "Learning through Play" - lovely! and it's practised.
Who knows.  They might even do a really cute Christmas show! 

If you are interested in registering your child for one of the fall sessions or want to check out the preschool's facilities, please stop by the open house - admission is free.  For more information visit or e-mail

Friday, February 11, 2011

Neighbourhood Churches Reach Out to the Young Crowd

I've recently noticed a few Church events that are clearly designed to appeal to the young crowd. 

Whether you're a regular churchgoer or not, whether you're a believer or not, church can provide historical, religious, moral and musical education, a chance to reflect, a sense of community and an opportunity for outreach.

We have always intended to take our children to church though frankly we've failed miserably on that count.  I'd describe myself, if I had to, as a "dubious Christian", though if you asked me whether church had a postive impact on me growing up, I'd have to say it did.  Frankly I grew up in a town of 2000 where church basically gave kids and families something to do!  And along the way I learned a few things.

Here's what I've found in our neighbourhood

St. Martin's Anglican Church at 2120 Prince Charles Road near Carlingwood is embracing this new effort by the Anglican community to connect with families and children.  I think the name says it all.  This isn't about stiff clothes and formality, this is about learning, fun and community.
The brochure, available at describes this as "a once-a-month "happening" on Tuesday from 5:00 to 7:00 pm for toddlers to early teens along with their Mom, their Dad – who knows maybe even an Aunt, an Uncle, Guardian or Grandparent. It’s a time to hang out together doing crafts, hearing stories, singing songs, exploring the Church and – best of all - enjoying a meal together that neither Mom nor Dad had to prepare after a hectic, messy day."

The next dates for this event are March 8th, April 12th, May 3rd and June 7th.  St. Martin’s Anglican Church  To register simply telephone 613 722-6077 or e-mail  Registration is recommended so that the kitchen may plan for sufficient food.

St. Martin's of course also runs the well known neighbourhood preschool!


If you're a family which debates the benefits of church going and religious education, the Presbyterian Church on Roosevelt last year distributed the pamphlet found at the following link which discusses some of the benefits of church attendance.


Various churches, mosques, synagogues etc. open their doors for this event.  Last year we visited the Ottawa Mosque on Northwestern, just of Scott Street.  They were welcoming, informal and informative.  I came out of the tour feeling that I had just a bit more understanding of another religion.  They also have an informative website.

The Ukrainian Orthodix Church on Byron also routinely opens its doors for this event as does the All Saints Anglican Church (the Chapel of which, incidentally, was designed by the same architect as did the Parliament Buildings!) on Richmond Road and the beautiful St. Francoise d'Assise Church with the beautiful spires and pipe organ, on Fairmont Avenue at the corner of Wellington.