Between balancing school work, jobs, and family responsibilities, it can be difficult for student parents to find suitable and safe child care options for their children while they attend classes, study, or work on a paper.
Thanks to the Early Learning Centre (ELC) at the University of Toronto Mississauga (UTM), UTM students, staff, and faculty parents can send their children to a fun and stimulating learning environment that fosters creativity and teaches children about cooperation, problem-solving, and more. It is conveniently located across the pond from the Davis Building and nestled within the Leacock Lane Residences sporting an inviting bright red door. UTM ELC was established in August 2009 and is one of three ELC licensed child care facilities at the U of T campuses including the Glen Morris and OISE locations at the St. George Campus.
The centre offers spaces for two age groups: Toddlers aged 18-30 months and Preschoolers aged 30 months-4 years old. The ELC is open from 7:00 am-5:30 pm, Monday-Friday. The ELC offers different scheduling options for drop-off and pick up, and part-time/full-time spaces. This flexibility is useful for parents who have classes or work. If you are interested in applying, the centre accepts children by adding them to the waitlist. Priority is given to U of T full-time and part-time undergraduate and graduate students, faculty and staff.
When I visited the ELC, preschoolers were drawing pictures, reading books, and playing in the sand bin. The ELC follows a play-based curriculum to help the children’s physical, communication, and cognitive skills.
“Some of the activities children partake in include art and music to develop their sensory skills, story reading, and playing outside,” says Teresa Alves-Silva, the Child Care Supervisor at UTM ELC.
Early Childhood Educators (ECEs) usually take the children outside twice a day to explore nature or go on campus walks where the little ones visit their parents in their offices, say hello between classes, and explore the beautiful UTM campus. The ELC partnered with Food for Tots, a child care catering service that provides two fresh snacks, in the morning and midday. ECEs also do small cooking classes with the children. For a child’s birthday, the child will choose a favourite snack and the ECEs and children will create and enjoy it together. This activity helps the children to learn about healthy foods, practice their independent eating, and working on cooperation skills with their peers.
There is even a chance for parents to network with one another! Every season, families who have children registered are invited to an ELC breakfast. The ELC community has the opportunity to meet friendly faces and to build a community.
Whether your child loves the outdoors, reading or anything in between, the ELC has wonderful opportunities for children to learn, play, and grow in an inclusive, bias-free environment. If you are looking for child care options or you’re simply curious to know about the ELC services, appointments to tour the UTM ELC happen in the mornings, Monday-Friday. You can contact Teresa Alves-Silva at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 905-469-4422. For more information on the Early Learning Centre at U of T, check out their website.
Written by: Nicole Sciulli, UTM Outreach and Communications Coordinator.