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Mid-Week Mugging: School is out so pour these daycare staffers a coffee

School ended last week for Simcoe County’s students, and immediately Ferris Lane Community Daycare filled up as parents needed a place for their children to go while they went to work

Summer holidays are here, and if anyone may need a coffee pick-me-up, it’s the folks at the Ferris Lane Community Daycare (FLCD).

Located at 49 Ferris Ln., the FLCD has been around for 12 years. For 11 of those years, Michelle Goss has been the supervisor. It’s no easy task for the married mother of two who travels from Orillia every day to make the daycare work, but Goss knows it’s her team who help the FLCD be what it is.

“Between full-time staff, supply staff and those on maternity leave, we have 25 staff members,” said Goss. “That’s a good because we have about 135 kids between the full time and part time ones, not to mention how busy it gets on PA Days and school breaks. It can be a lot of work but our staff is second to none and love what they do.”

School ended last week for Simcoe County’s students, and immediately the FLCD filled up as parents needed a place for their children to go while they went to work. While some moms and dads relied on other family members to help with babysitting, the FLCD offers a well-balanced choice of fun and education for little ones whose minds are still growing. Goss believes in the system her daycare uses and enjoys that they do.

“For 11 years our programs were theme-based where the teachers choose a theme and build their week around that theme and the children would participate in that program,” said Goss. “Last year we switched to Emergent Curriculum, which is right in line with Ontario’s Kindergarten curriculum. The idea is that children will move from childcare to school in a seamless fashion. Essentially the staff conduct observations on the children while playing, based on their findings, they decide on a concept or theme, that concept/theme could last anywhere from a few days to a few months, depending on the children’s interest. Basically, the children are deciding what we are going to talk about; it’s all about them, their desires, their wants and needs. The teachers set up the classroom based on the concept and the children decide what they want to do during the day, where they want to play, explore, create. Each classroom is equipped with a creative centre, a book centre, a block centre, sensory areas, a loose parts area, dramatic play, math, science, table top toys; within the free play times, children decide where they want to go and for how long.”

The daycare is equipped with a full-sized gymnasium should the weather be unfavourable, but the front of the building where the children usually play is known throughout the neighbourhood. The state of the art grass covering was installed a few years ago and makes for a great place for kids to run and play on beautiful days.

“A few years ago we were able to purchase artificial turf from a company in Toronto,” said Goss. It is high-grade artificial grass that is very low maintenance. The kids and staff love it!”

Goss admits there are other daycares in the region, but believes wholeheartedly that hers is the best. Not only does the FLCD run a full summer camp for kindergarten and school age children packed full of exciting field trips, but also has theme days, great healthy food and a real tight-knit feeling.

“When people spend time in our centre, they quickly feel that unique sense of community and family,” said Goss. “Everyone knows each other even though we have seven different classrooms; all the staff knows all the kids and vice versa. We have many families that bring several of their children to us therefore when we have our Ferris Lane Fun Days the kids get to spend some time with their siblings. Our Ferris Lane Fun Days are times when our cook prepares a big turkey or ham lunch with all the trimmings, usually for Christmas, Thanksgiving and Easter. The staff set up all the tables and chairs in the hallway and the entire daycare, staff and children, have a giant meal together. The kids make centrepieces for our long tables and we have a special dessert as well. When we celebrate other holidays such as Valentine’s Day, Halloween or Canada Day everyone dresses in specific colours and we have a big party together; usually there’s some dancing, fun activities and lots of food and treats. What I really look forward to is our daycare’s birthday each year in June; it’s one of our biggest events of the year. We usually celebrate with a giant homemade pizza and cake picnic in the playground with fun activities of all kinds (sensory, creative, sport and water activities) set up all over the playgrounds all day long; it’s a blast.”

The Ferris Lane Community Daycare is located at 49 Ferris Lane and can be contacted by calling (705) 722-4457.