As a part of the K-W community, Sunbeam Centre is thrilled to be able to offer a diverse array of programs. One that you may not know is part of our roster is the EarlyOn Program, a free drop-in program for caregivers and children. This program is a great opportunity to learn and play with your child, meet other parents and caregivers and get advice, and is geared toward children from birth to 6 years old.
Sunbeam has offered various programs serving similar needs for the past 25 years, and Bev Palumbo (celebrating 25 years with Sunbeam this year!) has been involved since the beginning when the program was started as a toy lending library.
The toy lending library operated out of Rosemount School in Kitchener. Families could come in and borrow/sign out a toy or two like you do a book at the library. To this day some of the old toys still have the library’s identifying numbers on them. Then approximately 15 years ago Sunbeam Centre’s -Developmental Services Resource Centre – Waterloo region (DSCWR) http://www.dscwr.com/ partnered with the Ontario Early Years Centre to run a drop-in program for children 6 and under. Now as of July 1st, 2018 it is known as the EarlyON Child and Family Centre.
When asked what the importance of these drop-in programs is, Bev shared that since she has been a part of it for so long she has grown up with lots of these families from her days as a young mom herself. The program allows children to come together with other children for play-based learning, interpersonal skill building and more. The children aren’t the only ones benefiting from this program though. It’s a place where parents and caregivers can come for adult conversation and support each other. This program is about investing in families. Introducing parents together, having a place to come and meet caregivers to see how they interact with children, and facilitating great friendships for youngsters are among the most positive aspects of the program – it is a great place for building community.
If you want more information about this program please go to http://www.earlyyearsinfo.ca/.