Corp Comm Connects

YMCA, Vaughan team up to open child care centre at city hall
May 21, 2014
By Adam Martin-Robbins

The long-awaited child care centre at city hall is up and running.

The city and YMCA of Greater Toronto last year inked a five year-contract and the doors to the centre opened about a month ago.

The 5,605-square-foot facility on the lower level of city hall (2141 Major Mackenzie Dr) features program and activity rooms, staff offices and an outdoor play area.

“For families, specifically for those with younger children, having the choice of bringing your child to work or locally, outside of schools, is really important,” said Linda Cottes, senior vice-president child and family development at YMCA of Greater Toronto. “So, looking at this space within a beautiful building that has relatively easy access and has a big concentration of employees, we felt it was a really good choice.”

The centre is licensed for 52 child care spaces - 20 for toddlers and 32 for preschoolers - and is open to city employees as well as community members.

“There are significant issues in the province related to having enough licensed child care, particularly for younger children,” Cottes said. “So being able to find a location that is appropriate for children and where families are - including Maple, which is such a growing community - is really important to the overall child care strategy.”

The centre is open Monday to Friday from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. and provides full-time and part-time programming for children 18-months to school age.

Fees vary depending on the age of your children and the program you select. Low-income families can apply for subsidies through the Region of York.

“It is a play-based curriculum that comes from research, which basically says children learn best through play and you build on their interests to help them to learn,” Cottes said. “So the goal is to provide a high-quality, early learning environment for children.”

Starting in the fall, the YMCA will also offer its Youth Leadership Program, for those 12 and up, at the centre.

The program aims to help youth better understand their community and build the skills they need to succeed in school and in their careers.

“They come together and, with direction from our staff, they formulate what they want to do, what they want to accomplish in terms of giving back to the community,” said Dianne Taylor, general manager child and family development with the YMCA of Greater Toronto. “They often volunteer at other events that we might have within the YMCA, as well.”

The YMCA is also making its meeting space available to community groups that are interested, Taylor said. Plus, it is partnering with local school boards and area colleges to provide volunteer and work placement opportunities.

“It’s wonderful to see this new facility become a part of our city hall,” Mayor Maurizio Bevilacqua said. “The addition of a child care centre is a service that will be welcomed by city staff and residents, and will provide children in our community with access to high-quality licensed child care programming. The YMCA has a long history of providing quality programs for families and children and we are pleased that they are bringing this valuable service to our community.”