Ontario Early Years Centres

Summer 2012 Newsletter

Happy Anniversary OEYC
10 Years of Service and Programs

It's hard to believe that the Ontario Early Years Centre of Leeds and Grenville (OEYC) is celebrating ten years of service delivery. When we opened our doors in 2002, as a new program of the United Counties of Leeds and Grenville, we knew that we were embarking on an amazing opportunity. With program locations in Brockville, Gananoque, Kemptville, Prescott, Athens, Mallorytown, Cardinal, Elgin and Lyndhurst, the OEYC has become a place for both children and their parents to play, meet, learn and share.

Over the last ten years, more than 4,227 children under the age of six and more than 3,613 parents/caregivers have attended our programs. The dads, moms, grandparents, caregivers and children that have walked through our doors have shared with us their stories, accomplishments, happiness and sadness. Not surprising to us, children that once frequented our programs have turned into creative, inspiring and successful adolescents. In fact, the children that first attended OEYC programs back in 2002 are entering their teen years now and learning to drive. We knew you could do it!

As we look to our next ten years, the OEYC will continue to offer accessible free early learning programs, parent support and educational opportunities to families across Leeds and Grenville. Parenting is hard work, we can help.

Play In The Park

"Play in the Park" is a free program that offers summer adventures for children birth to six years of age and their parents/caregivers in local parks and community spaces. Join us and our community partners for arts/crafts, songs, stories and resources.

Programs will be from 9:30 - 11:30 a.m. in the following local communities: 




 Tuesday, July 17, 2012SpencervilleArena Park
 Thursday, July 19, 2012Lyndhurst Sweet's Corners Public School 
 Tuesday, July 24, 2012Athens Athens Memorial Park 
 Friday, July 27, 2012KemptvilleRiverside Park
 Monday, July 30, 2012BrockvilleJohn Knox Park (near Bethel Christian Reformed Church)
 Friday, August 3, 2012ElginSouth Crosby Public School
 Friday, August 10, 2012CardinalCardinal Community Park and Pool
 Monday, August 13, 2012Mallorytown Recreation Town Park 
 Wednesday, August 15, 2012Gananoque Joel Stone Heritage Park 
 Friday, August 17, 2012Prescott Centennial Park 
 Monday, August 20, 2012BrockvilleHardy Park 
 Wednesday, August 22, 2012Portland Kin Park 
 Friday, August 24, 2012Kemptville Riverside Park 


  • Wear play clothes - be prepared to get messy and have fun! 
  • No registration needed
  • Bring a snack and enjoy the morning with your family  
  • No pets please
  • Program will be cancelled if there is lightning, thunder or heavy rain (please call the centre to confirm)

Join Us for Play and Learn

All Play and Learn programs are FREE and operate throughout the year. No pre-registration needed. For parents, grandparents, caregivers and their children, birth to six years of age. The Play and Learn program includes: art, sensory, literacy, gross motor, fine motor and math activities, as well as group time.

Brockville Site




 Play and Learn9:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday 
 Play and Learn1:30 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. Wednesday 
 Play and Learn9:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. Saturday (September to June) 
 Story Time11:00 a.m. to 11:45 a.m. 

Saturday (September to June) 

Gananoque Site




 Play and Learn9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.Monday, Tuesday, Thursday

Kemptville Site




 Play and Learn9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.Monday, Tuesday, Thursday
 Play and Learn1:30 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. Tuesday

Prescott Site




 Play and Learn

9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.

Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday,


What Families Have to Say About the Ontario Early Years

  • I am pleased to be one of the "regulars" and would like to wish the Early Years a very happy 10th anniversary.  Thank you for all you have done over the years! 
  • For the past 8 years my grandchildren and I have attended the Ontario Early Years, both in Prescott and Brockville.  We have enjoyed the pleasant atmosphere where the children have been engaged in a variety of creative, learning activities.  They have learned patience, sharing, co-operation and understanding.  The Early Years lends itself to independence and making choices.  Through the various activities, the children are allowed to explore many different aspects of play and learning, ranging from the arts to science.   A love for books is always a priority.
  • The staff is very friendly and very accommodating.  They take the time to talk to each child and make them feel very special.  The children know them by name, and always look forward to their visits.
  • I don't know how I would have coped with the challenge of becoming a new parent without this centre.  I have met wonderful parents and have used the staff as a resource during stressful times of child-rearing.  I have made great friends from the people I have met at the centre.  I love to be able to go to the centre and socialize with other adults while watching my child interact with other children and yet be in a safe environment.
  • After recently moving to the area, OEYC has helped us network with other local parents.  This wonderful resource has helped find speech therapy for our daughter and get childcare recommendations from other parents to enable us to find daycare that we can trust when we otherwise don't know anybody. 
  • I think the Early Years Center is a great place for children as well as adults.  Coming to programs like Play and Learn on a weekly basis gives not only my children an opportunity to play and socialize with other children, but it gives moms and dads a place to connect with each other.  As a mom raising 2 kids under the age of 3, I have many days where I think, "Am I the only one who is going through this?"  Coming to the centre and talking to other moms, dads and caregivers reassures me that I am not alone.  Other families deal with temper tantrums, sleep issues and many more daily problems.  
  • Over the past year since moving to the Leeds and Grenville area the OEYC has become a very important part of my family's life.  They have not only provided a safe and happy place for my 3 children to learn and grow but have provided me with immense amounts of support and information that has helped me and my family.
  • The staff at OEYC are incredible.  They have always been there to help and to just be a friend.  My children's favourite thing to do is to go to OEYC whether it be the Brockville location or our local outreach program.  We are always welcome.  We recommend OEYC to everyone as it has been the best thing in our life and makes us smile every day we are there. 
  • I think the Early Years Centre is an absolutely wonderful resource and I feel so lucky to have it in our community.  It has made me feel so welcome and active in my community.  I have met great friends through the programs and really like all the staff.  On days where I am feeling overwhelmed and stressed (my baby is extremely colicky!) I can go to the centre and I instantly feel better and far less stressed.  I feel like I get lots of support there from the staff and other mothers which is great.  Thank you so much and keep up the great work!!!! 

Learning Through Play

Over the last year, the staff at the Ontario Early Years Centre in Leeds and Grenville, have been involved in training for and beginning to use a program called "Save the Day for Play". This has involved making changes to the way we set up the space for children and adults to best play and learn, based upon research and experience.  We also want to let families and caregivers coming into the Centres know what young children are learning through play opportunities.  You often hear staff comment on what your children are learning when they are using specific materials in various ways. Over the coming months you will see signs appear in each play area describing what may be learned by playing with the materials in that space. After that you will begin to notice "Learning Stories" with pictures posted for you to read and learn what the children are learning when they are playing. These will help adults to understand that early child development is the beginning of lifelong learning and positive behaviour. The specific skills noted will allow early learning professionals to share information about children's development.

Jacob's Learning Story

Jacob is four years old. He chose to participate in the art activity. Jacob is alone at the table and is painting with water colours on construction paper. With his right hand, he chooses a wet brush. Jacob holds the brush between his thumb and forefinger. He swirls the brush on the paint puck in a circular motion. Jacob made marks on the paper with the paint brush. Many of the marks are straight lines done by placing his hand toward the top part of the sheet and moving it in a downward motion to the bottom portion of the paper. Jacob also made marks by placing the brush on the paper and moving it from the top to the bottom of the paper and back up; then repeating without lifting the brush. Marks were also made by using a circular brush motion. He painted on top of marks previously made. Jacob used only some of the colours of paint offered, including: blue, green and yellow. When his caregiver approached, he looked at her with a smile and said, "Look what I made. It is blue like the water." Jacob stayed at this activity for over ten minutes.

You may hear people say "oh, he is just painting." However, the skills that Jacob is showing include: a positive attitude to painting, developing his fine motor skills with his hands and fingers, learning to  hold brushes like he will hold a pencil to print, making marks on the paper that will soon develop into drawing figures and printing letters and expressing satisfaction in his work. These are  early skills that will assist Jacob to become an independent adult and meet his own needs.


Cloud Dough
½ cup water
½ cup vegetable oil
2 cups flour
2 cups salt
Food colouring or liquid tempera paint
Peppermint extract
Bowl and spoon

Mix together the vegetable oil, flour and salt.  Add a few drops of food colouring or liquid tempera paint to the water.  Gradually add the coloured water to the other ingredients.  Add a few drops of the peppermint extract.  Knead the mixture until smooth and pliable.

Large, shallow, waterproof container
1 box of cornstarch
1 cup of water
Food colouring or liquid tempera paint (optional)

In the shallow container, gradually add water to cornstarch to achieve the desired thick consistency.  Mix until the mixture is lump free.  Add food colouring or tempera paint, if desired.

Invite the children to experiment with the "goop" - a fascinating material with sensory appeal.  This "goop" will appear wet, yet dry when picked up with the fingers.  Try making a ball with the mixture and then let it "drip" through your fingers.

Raindrop Pictures
Sprinkle two or more colours of dry tempera paint on some paper.  Then, let the children take their papers outside and hold them in the rain.  Let the wet papers dry inside to create beautiful pictures.

Summer Memory Collage
You will need:  an assortment of favourite summer souvenirs and "finds" (ticket stubs, postcards, travel brochures, maps, snapshots, etc.), MacTac or other laminating material or a poster frame, construction paper or poster board cut to the required size and glue.

Whether it's stashing away ticket stubs from the baseball game or unusual leaves found at the park, children love collecting things.  Here's an easy way to put those summer memories on display instead of letting them collect dust under the bed. 

Arrange the souvenir items as a collage and glue to the construction paper or poster board.  When complete, the summer souvenir collage may be covered with MacTac, professionally laminated, or placed in a poster frame.  Hang the finished collage in your child's bedroom or another "family wall".  The memories of summer will last far into the cold days of winter!  And, if you use a snap apart poster frame, it can be reused year after year, replacing old memories with new.                  

Sand Painting
Let the children mix powdered tempera paint with sand to make several colours.  Separate the colours into different containers.  Squeeze bottles with nozzles are fun.  Pour glue into shallow containers.  Let the children paint the glue onto the paper in whatever design pleases them.  Before the glue dries, let them shake sand over it to stick to the glue.

Ten Best Practices

Promoting Early Literacy Development in Young Children

Early literacy is developing the skills to be able to read, write, listen and speak.
These skills begin developing right from birth. Here are ten best practices for
parents and caregivers to do with children to promote early literacy development.

Talk to your child.
Children learn about words by hearing and doing. Use new words, ask questions, explain what is going on, listen to what your child's response is, repeat what your child says and say it correctly when talking.

Read with your child.
From birth, make reading a daily activity. Reading provides vocabulary and knowledge. Have books accessible and part of their toys. Read together and talk about what you read. Visit your local library to learn and borrow age-appropriate books.

Sing to your child.
Sing songs to your child. Songs are a natural way to learn about language, and music makes words easy to remember. Clap along to rhythms to allow children to hear the syllables in the words.
(visit www.kididdles.com for songs)

Say rhymes with your child.
Children learn to speak easier when they are exposed to rhymes. Rhymes help children develop the ability to recognize and break words into smaller parts. (visit www.bigeyedowl.co.uk for rhymes)

Develop your child's fine motor ability
By developing fine motor skills you prepare your child for writing. Play with activities that strengthen their shoulder, arm and wrist. Use playdough, stickers, magnets on the refrigerator, paint at an easel, playground equipment, puzzles and building blocks.

Write with your child.
Once a child can grasp a thick crayon, create many opportunities to hold and use writing implements such as large crayons, pencils and markers, chalk, and paintbrushes. Join your child with making lines, circles, pictures and words. Talk to you child about what is drawn, ask questions and praise their work.

Join your child in play.
Join in your child's play and talk about what your child is interested in. Play is one of the best ways for children to learn language and literacy skills. Ask questions about how they are doing something during play, and follow your child's lead when joining their play.

Play games with your child.
Games promote the development of language, turn-taking, memory, matching, patterning, sorting, counting, reading and social skills. Enjoy playing Peek-a-Boo with and infant, I Spy with a toddler and Memory Card games with a preschooler.

Know your accessible community resources to support your child's developmental milestones.
Visit your Ontario Early Years Centre to play and learn, get resources and answer your parenting questions. Learn how to contact Preschool Speech and Language, Infant and Child Development and Inclusive Child Care staff for questions or concerns you may have about developmental milestones..

Limit TV and computer access for your child.
The most important time for strong brain development is from birth to three years of age. When children have direct interactions with parents and caregivers they are building their ready to learn skills. Enjoy your child's ability to explore, imagine and experiment which leads them to be ready to learn in school.

The Ontario Early Years Centre (OEYC) is a place for dads, moms, families, caregivers and their children from Birth to age 6 years.
School readiness starts at birth!

Parenting information/support available by phone 1-866-433-8933 x 2374

Programs and Services

  • Parent/Caregiver Drop-In and Early Learning Programs: Play and Learn, weekdays and Saturdays, Pre-registered early learning sessions
  • Parenting Information/Workshops: discipline, behaviour, toilet learning, school readiness, child development, parent stress, early literacy
  • Community Information: child care programs, library, recreation, thrift shops, food banks, special needs, health services
  • Workshops for Early Childhood Educators, Kindergarten Teachers