Volume 12 Week 5

Saturday, Sept. 2


Posted Sept. 30

Posted July 1

Posted Sept. 18

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Orléans Ward
Bob Monette

Beacon Hill,
Cyrville Ward
Tim Tierney


Where children come first

You don’t have to look very hard when you’re at A-Z Daycare to see evidence of the quality care the facility provides its most precious clients; it’s painted on the faces of each and every child left in their care.

Since opening in 1987,
A-Z Daycare has helped nourish, motivate and educate thousands of east end children, many of whom come back to thank the highly trained and dedicated staff for their efforts.

A-Z is a privately run facility with space for 48 preschoolers between the ages of two and five. Children are supervised along the industry standard ratio of eight to one.

A-Z's philosophy is to provide a positive learning environment aimed at enhancing the children's level of develop.m.ent through play experiences and the guidance of specially trained Early Childhood Educators. Areas targeted for stimulation include:

1) Curiosity, initiative and independence
2) Self-esteem and decision-making capabilities
3) Physical activity
4) Interaction with and respect for others
5) Fine motor develop.m.ent

Not surprisingly, A-Z owner and director Karen Driscoll says the centre's biggest strength is its staff of five ECEs and cook Beth Sales.

A-Z Daycare owner Karen Drsicall (centre) with the rest of the centre's staff.

"Our teachers have been here on average for about 12 years and Beth has been a godsend. Besides making great meals for the kids she's also a big help around the day care," she says.

Driscoll started A-Z Daycare after earning her Early Childhood Education diploma in 1987.

"I always loved being around children," says Driscoll. "I did all the things like babysitting and taking care of the neighbourhood kids. So opening a daycare was a natural transition."

Two of A-Z's staff members have been since the better part of forever. Anita Millington and Mridu Kurichh both started in 1991. Laurie Major joined the staff in 2002 and Shyanna Morel is the newest member of the staff.

Aside from the experienced and dedicated staff members, Driscoll says the centre's other biggest strength is the fact that it is privately owned.

"Some people may think because we're private the tendency is to cut corners. But, in fact, the opposite it true," says Driscoll. "It's a very competitive industry so there's a desire to go the extra mile both to retain our clients and to attract new ones."

Driscoll points to the recent purchase of thousands of dollars in new toys and furniture, the resodding of the large play area behind the centre last fall and the recent installation of new hardwood flooring as examples of the daycare's willingness to constantly improve.

A third strength is the daycare's reputation. Over 90 per cent of the centre's clientele comes by way of referrals by current or former clients.

"Every time someone is referred to us, it's an affirmation that we're doing things right. For someone to think about us to the extent that they're willing to recommend another parent bring their children here is the highest compliment a daycare can receive," says Driscoll.

The programming itself is made up of a series of highly structured and non-structured activities tailor-made for each age level and their particular develop.m.ental needs.

Each day starts off with a morning snack followed by an hour of free play and an hour of structured learning activities called "circle time". After a third hour of outdoor activities in the centre's expansive back play area, the kids are ready for a hearty lunch and an afternoon nap.

After nap time, they spend another hour outdoors, followed by a second hour of free play time indoors and finally, a structured game time. In between each organized period, the children are read a story or join in a singalong.

Every activity is aimed at developing the child's cognitive learning abilities and fine motor and social skills. It is a holistic approach that has earned the childcare centre its outstanding reputation.

A-Z Daycare is located on St. Pierre Street just off St. Joseph Boulevard by the KFC. The centre has a number of subsidized spaces available as well as several full fee spaces at $735 per month with payment due on the first of each month. They'll also accept children on a part-time basis, if space is available, at the rate of $35 per day. To find out more about A-Z Daycare, call Karen Driscoll at 613-824-1330.

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