As new parents, the life you once knew is forever changed. As you adjust to your new life, community support and resources are invaluable. ROCK is the lead for EarlyON centres in Burlington providing support to parents of young children in the Burlington community. ROCK opens its doors to help young families learn in a healthy and supportive environment.
EarlyON Child and Family Centre is a program that allows parents and children to have a safe and comforting place to grow as a family. In a recent survey, over 70% of families say they are better equipped to deal with day-to-day challenges after receiving the support this program offers. The program, designed to support families through the early stages of learning and development, is funding provincially through the Ministry of Education and administered through the Region of Halton. Taking part in the EarlyON program allows families with young children to socialize together and lean on each other as their children play and interact together.
EarlyON staff are Registered Early Childhood Educators. Once families arrive, the playtime, exploration and learning strengthens the relationships between parents and children. 72% of parents express they understand their child or children better after having visited ROCK. The centre relieves the isolation new parents feel and provides a welcoming space to express concerns and work through the challenges of parenthood.
The EarlyON Child and Family Centres at ROCK are drop-in with no required registration to accommodate flexible schedules. They have removed all barriers to entry to make the centre easily accessible for parents. Different ages require different stimulation and the centre is aware and responsive to these needs. ROCK’s EarlyON program offers a variety of learning environments, for example, sing-alongs, fitness programs and outdoor nature programs year round. The programs are designed to support early development and encourage exploration. In a 2018 survey, 94% of parents expressed their child has more opportunity to explore new environments and play with people from different backgrounds as a result of this program. As the children are interacting, the staff help the parents identify how their child is learning new skills and what activities are contributing to the growth and development of their child. As a result, 75% of parents stated they are more aware of what to expect from their child at his or her age and 77% feel more confident as a parent or caregiver.
ROCK and EarlyON Child and Family Centre has made an effort to be inclusive by targeting outreach programs for families in low-income areas, offering programs specific to sensitive and special needs, as well as provide programs that cater specifically to new fathers. They also offer partnership programs in the community to build collaborative relationships with like-minded community organizations and groups. The centre encourages children to socialize, play and learn while also providing parents with an education for those early childhood years.
ROCK is a resource for families and a place that is well regarded for parental support and guidance. In 2018, 17,000 visits were made to the centre by 23,000 unique families. ROCK remains a popular place for families in the community to learn and grow. As the word spreads regarding the success of our EarlyON programs, there is a need for more spaces to accommodate the growing demand. ROCK is growing to meet those needs.
This year, due in large part to a very generous $2,000,000 donation from the Warren Y. Soper Charitable Trust, ROCK is expanding. The donation will directly contribute to building a new 20,000- square-foot facility at the main Burlington location on the corner of Pearl Street and James Street. The additional space will provide a permanent home for the internationally Renowned Centre of Learning and Windz Institute, as well as allow more families access to the EarlyON Child and Family Centre, soon to be located in the same facility as other ROCK programs. Currently, the main EarlyOn centre has a capacity of only 25 children and 25 adults. The expansion will accommodate more families and community members as EarlyON will have the opportunity to run 2+ programs simultaneously. The new facility, located in a centralized downtown location, will be more accessible due to downtown bus routes. Having several ROCK programs and services co-located under the same roof will provide seamless access to children’s mental health resources for the whole community.
If you would like more information on how to get involved with our building, ROCK or the EarlyON program please contact Stephanie Wilsack at firstname.lastname@example.org. Drop by our facility any time to learn more about ROCK – the door is always open.