Nation Valley News
IROQUOIS — The Glengarry Inter-Agency Group (GIAG) – Ontario Early Years Centre (OEYC) hosted a grand re-locating event at their brand new Iroquois site inside Seaway District High School last Thursday.
The non-profit organization has several sites across Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry (SDG). Their previous Iroquois-based location first opened in 2007 inside the nearby public school. With increased enrollment absorbing more classroom space, the group approached the neighbouring high school as an alternative spot.
According to Fiona Carr, Family Resource Coordinator of the Winchester and Morrisburg sites, Thursday’s event welcomed a whopping 31 families and 75 people in total — most of whom were first-time visitors.
In the beginning stages of the playgroup program in South Dundas, Morrisburg served as the sole site of a larger OEYC site. But as time went on, it became apparent that Iroquois was in need of its own location as well.
Last year, there were over 200 different families attending the two South Dundas locations alone.
One attendee who definitely wasn’t there for the first time at last week’s event was Haiden O’Reilly of Brinston. Hamilton, now 14, was one of the very first babies to attend the South Dundas playgroup programs in Morrisburg 14 years ago.
For those who have never attended this program — or perhaps never heard of it — this reporter can personally attest to its benefits.
It allows new parents the ability and push to get out of the house and meet other parents and caregivers. It also provides them with several resources and opportunities to teach their children the same play-based learning taught in schools today.
Children get the chance to play and learn from kids their age, and parents get the chance to have adult conversation.
The current Family Resource Coordinator of the Iroquois location, Joan Plourde, has been with the organization for over 10 years.
She explained that not only did the students at IPS need more space but so did the families of their program. It was apparent to her that there was a major baby influx in the town of Iroquois and they would need more space to accommodate them.
Plourde described the activities, benefits, and resources provided at the new Seaway site. They host a Baby Picasso event at least once a month. Mothers love to have their babies hand or foot prints as souvenirs so this is a very popular activity.
“Children learn social skills like learning how to wait their turns to help them get ready for school,” she said.
The program is free — a valuable resource for new or experienced mothers of infants or children under the age of six.
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