When Adam was born, other moms told me to check out our local Ontario Early Years Centre. They were so enthused about it, though I never heard much more than “it’s AWESOME.” I put it off because Adam was too small, or it was too hot to walk him there, or he was too cranky. Besides, I didn’t know what was there. I guess I imagined a few ratty toys strewn about and a handful of desperate mothers who needed to get out of the house.
After a very long walk this morning, we passed by the building and I figured we would take a peek.
It is AWESOME. The huge space is divided into age appropriate sections with room to play and toys a-plenty. There’s a toy library ($15 a year to check out toys). A kitchen. Free snacks for the kids. 50 cent coffee and tea. There’s a basket to put toys that babies have had in their mouths and the centre staff cleans them up at the end of the day. A selection of resource packages on a variety of topics, such as “A New Baby” or “First Trip to the Dentist”. There’s washrooms for men and women, BOTH with change tables. The infant section has a comfy chair for nursing. High chairs if you want to stay through a baby’s meal time. There are programs like story times and song circles. It’s open two days a week during the summer and three times a week the rest of the year. A staff member showed me around and gave me a schedule and a pile of breast pads.
And it’s all FREE. Sometimes the government does get it right.