'We're really excited': Jean Hamlyn reopens its doors in Orangeville under the YMCA banner

·2 min read

With its longstanding history of providing childcare in Orangeville, Jean Hamlyn has reopened its doors under the YMCA banner.

Although it was originally set to open in August, the Orangeville Jean Hamlyn YMCA Child Care Centre needed some retrofitting and building upgrades first, which were delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Sporting a new roof, cupboards, cabinets, and a variety of other building updates, the centre opened its doors again to the public on Oct. 19.

The County of Dufferin ran the centre for many years, but decided to stop offering childcare services in late 2019. The Town of Orangeville, which owns the building, then leased the building to the YMCA a few months later.

“It’s amazing,” said Christine Baxter, supervisor of the centre. “The YMCA has two other child care centres in Orangeville, but this was the first time we have been able to open up a stand-alone centre, which is fantastic.”

The centre is also the first of the three to offer an infant care program, which has already filled up and moved into a waitlist.

There is still space available for toddlers and preschoolers, who will have the opportunity to learn through the Playing to Learn curriculum, an education and development program unique to the Y child care centres.

“It is based off the child’s interest and is all play-based,” explained Baxter. “The educators in the classroom observe the children and write down the things they are interacting with, talking about, then plan activities around those interests.”

The infant care program follows a similar process, basing their activities off the individual child’s development stage to help them grow and learn.

“They’re all going through different stages of development, so staff plan around their developmental milestones,” said Baxter.

This means if they have an 11-month-old that is just learning to walk, the activities will be ones that help the child develop those walking skills and strengthen their legs. If they’re at a stage of putting items into a bucket and dumping it, they will focus on activities around those specific motor skills.

One thing that hasn’t changed is the spirit of supporting the community that existed through the centre previously. As a not-for-profit charity, the YMCA values working within the community to support families who require it.

“We’re really excited about that at Jean Hamlyn, to provide that support and be another part of the community,” said Baxter.

For more information, visit the Jean Hamlyn website at ymcagta.org/find-a-y/orangeville-jean-hamlyn-ymca-child-care-centre.

Tabitha Wells/Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Orangeville Banner