March 2018
Spring into Change
Spring is on the horizon bringing with it warmer weather, longer days and abundant changes to the landscape. So too will come changes to our Centre.

As we celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Talk 2 Me program, we must also say goodbye to a friend, colleague and the Talk 2 Me Program Manager, Terri Cooper, and wish her the very best in her retirement.

Terri has managed our Talk 2 Me program for 13 years. Her passion, knowledge and dedication to the families we service will be missed!
I would like to take this opportunity to introduce Eva Tsakalis as the new Program Manager of the Talk 2 Me program.

Eva is a Speech-Language Pathologist and the Infant Hearing, Blind-Low Vision Program Manager. She brings her commitment to children and families, management experience and partner agency relationship building skills to the position. Welcome Eva!
-Barb Brown
Executive Director

"If nothing ever changes there would be no butterflies."
- Unknown
A Message from Terri:
2018 marks a couple of milestones for me: the 20 th anniversary of Talk 2 Me and my 40 th year as a Speech-Language Pathologist. I saw a program when I was 16 years old about a centre that helped children with hearing loss and speech difficulties. I knew then what I wanted to do—study to become a speech-language pathologist and work with families! It has been an incredible and awesome journey.

It’s been a privilege to meet and serve so many wonderful families over the years. I know the importance of the first three years of a child’s life and the difference parents, caregivers and early learning professionals make in helping young children develop their best possible language and literacy skills. Skills that give young children success in the present and in the future. And that is what Talk 2 Me is all about. Helping and supporting families with young children who may have challenges in developing their skills to understand, listen and talk—whether it be the spoken word, sign or other ways of communicating.
Now it’s time for me to start a new chapter in my life and pass on the day-to-day management of Talk 2 Me to someone else. I want to say a big THANK YOU to everyone at Connections Early Years Family Centre and our 2 partner agencies, John McGivney Children’s Centre and Children First for the commitment, support and vision to continue to help families in our area. I also want to thank all the other wonderful community organizations in our region (so many to name individually) who work with us and the families we all serve.

Finally and most importantly, I want to thank all the parents and caregivers who have allowed us to be a part of your family and journey with you--- it’s a gift that we respect and value. While this is goodbye for me, Talk 2 Me will continue to be here for you when you have questions, concerns and want help with your child’s speech and language skills. I know I am leaving you all in good hands.

Here’s to another 20 years!

-Terri Cooper
Program Manager - Talk 2 Me
March is National Nutrition Month
Every year in March, Dietitians of Canada organizes Nutrition Month to provide information and guidance to Canadians, aimed at making it a little easier for us to choose, eat and enjoy healthy food. 

The campaign focuses attention on the importance of making informed food choices and developing sound eating and physical activity habits. This year's theme is Unlock the Potential of Food

The campaign will have five topics that explore the potential of food:
  1. Potential to fuel: Stay energized by planning nutritious snacks into your day.
  2. Potential to discover: Foster healthy eating habits in children by teaching them to shop and cook.
  3. Potential to prevent: Understand how food can help prevent chronic diseases like type 2 diabetes and heart disease.
  4. Potential to heal: Learn how food can promote healing and how dietitians work in health care teams to make a difference.
  5. Potential to bring us together: Enjoy the benefits of bringing families and friends together with food.
To celebrate Nutrition Month, we will have information and resources available in our EarlyON Centre for families to promote healthy eating and to explain the importance and benefits of eating nutritional foods.

Plus join us for these nutrition based activities during the month of March Centre:

Make a Fruit Smoothie
Tuesday, March 21 at 10:00 a.m.
Come and make a fruit smoothie for a snack with your child. The recipe for this nutritious snack will be available to those that attend.
Bring a Snack Week
Monday, March 19 to Friday, March 23
  Donations of cheese, crackers, arrowroot cookies, applesauce and fresh fruit (clementines, cantaloupe, honeydew melon, grapes, strawberries or pineapple) are needed. We also need tea/coffee and sugar. Please ensure that all snacks are peanut and nut free. Ask staff for a complete list of what can be donated. Your help reduces costs for the program and is greatly appreciated!
Healthy Eating Placemats
Friday, March 30 at 10:00 a.m.
Come and create a placemat with your child using various materials in the activity centre while promoting healthy eating habits.  
International NO SPANK DAY
What is No Spank Day and Why is it Recognized?
For several years, the Child Abuse Prevention Committee has recognized April 30th as an opportunity to bring awareness to the goal of ending corporal punishment of children, and to offer suggestions on more appropriate ways to teach our children through alternatives to physical punishment. 
Consider positive discipline ! Positive disciple teaches important social and life skills in a manner that is deeply respectful and encouraging for both children and adults.

What does the research show?
Research has shown, that non-violent parenting can produce children who: 
  • Are less aggressive
  • Internalize moral values
  • Feel closer to their parents
  • Are less likely to exhibit criminal behaviour in the future
  • Are less likely to hit their future spouses
  •   Have better mental health
What are we doing at the Centre to recognize No Spank Day?
On Friday, April 27th in support of No Spank Day we will be doing activities and a story with the children that will help reinforce their understanding that hands are not for hitting.

We will also have a No Spank Day board displayed at the Centre and have resources available for parents and caregivers on how to build positive relationships with your child.

Interested in learning more about International No Spank Day? Take some time to read this great article .
May is Speech and Hearing Month
Many of us take our ability to communicate for granted, but the ability to speak, hear and be heard is much more vital to our everyday lives than most of us realize. For those who have difficulty communicating, everyday interactions can pose significant challenges. A communication disorder may prevent an individual from performing well at work, asking for help, hearing instructions at school or even saying ‘I love you’.
Each year, Speech-Language and Audiology Canada (SAC) dedicates the month of May to raising public awareness about communication health. They work to highlight the importance of early detection and intervention in the treatment of communication disorders, and the role that our members and associates play in helping people to “Speak well. Hear well. Live well”. (

Early Identification and Intervention is Key
Children who struggle with speech and language or are deaf or hard of hearing have the best chance of developing effective language skills when speech and language concerns or hearing loss is identified early and they receive the support they need.

Our Talk 2 Me and Infant Hearing programs can help!

Don't Wait and See - Talk 2 Me
Talk 2 Me provides resources and programs for children with speech and language concerns from birth until school entry. We work with parents and caregivers to help every child be the best communicator they can be.

Talk 2 Me can:
  • Answer questions about your child’s speech, language and emergent literacy development
  • Offer information on typical speech, language and emergent literacy development
  • Give tips on what parents can do to help their child’s oral language and literacy skills develop
  • Provide local assessment clinics where you can meet and consult with a Speech-Language Pathologist
  • Provide parent education sessions, group therapy and individual speech therapy

If you have concerns about your child's speech or early language skills don't delay. Call us today! To refer your child for a FREE assessment with a speech-language pathologist, fill out our online referral form or call us at 519.252.0636

Infant Hearing Program Windsor-Essex & Chatham-Kent
This program includes universal newborn hearing screening, high risk monitoring and services for children identified with a permanent hearing loss in Windsor-Essex and Chatham-Kent.
Identifying hearing loss as soon as possible helps IHP professionals working with your family ensure family-centred services are in place to provide your child with the opportunity to develop language and communication skills.
The program provides:
  • Newborn Screening
  • Audiology Services
  • Family Support
  • Communication Development Services

For full program details and information visit our website:
One Breath at a Time
Teaching the importance of breath to toddlers and young children is one of my favourite things to do in my naturopathic practice. Conscious breathing techniques encourage mindfulness and awareness of how we are feeling. Using breath therapeutically can provide children with a valuable health promotion tool they can use for their entire lives. 

When we practice conscious breathing or another type of breathing technique, we change the way our bodies and minds react to daily stressors. I encourage parents to lie down with their children before bed and spend 1-3 minutes practicing deep breathing. A lovely way to teach deep breathing is to place a stuffed animal on the child’s abdomen when they are lying down. The child is encouraged to slowly move the stuffed animal up and down on their abdomen. Doing this exercise together is great for bonding, but also beneficial for any parent or care provider after a challenging day!

Committing time every day to conscious breathing has been shown to increase an
individual’s compassion, kindness, and improve resiliency to stressors. What an incredible gift of well-being to give our children and to ourselves!

There is no question that stress has become a state-of-being for many, our young children included. Many of our children are experiencing varying levels of anxiety, depression, and feelings of being overwhelmed. Conscious breathing is one strategy in teaching our children positive self-care strategies.

-Written by Dr. Krista Loughead 

For more information on the link between breath and self-care try these great articles:

Dr. Krista Loughead ND is a Naturopathic Doctor in Windsor. Her special areas of interest are in women’s health and pediatrics. She has been practicing Naturopathic Medicine for 18 years.
Community Connections
Though the weather may not have been in our favour, no amount of snow was going to stop our avid trivia buffs and supporters from making it out to our 8th Annual Trivia Night, which was held on February 9th.

18 teams battled it out to be crowned 'Trivia Champions' but ultimately there could be only one and reining champions ' Full Contact Trivia' claimed the top spot once again!

It was a fantastic night which raised over $6,600 for our Centre's programs and services.

A special thank you to all who took part and to our sponsors: Hebert Financial Group, Coldwell Banker Essential Realty and ViaRail Canada, for making the evening possible.
At Connections Early Years Family Centre we are very fortunate to have over 60 volunteers that generously give their time, energy and considerable talents to make the programs at the Centre so special. 

Our volunteers support staff and families and lovingly care for children during parenting courses, groups and Drop In and Play sessions, disinfect toys, prepare snacks, support the Speech and Language programs, serve on our Board of Directors, assist in the office, sit on various committees, and plan and help out at special events throughout the year. 

We simply could not operate the Centre at the same level without the commitment of all our wonderful volunteers! 
Join us in thanking:
Sarah Waugh
Katie Glos
Preet Kaur
Ying Luo
Mike Hebert
Deena Oozeer
Madison Lucas
Rebecca Colini
Katarina Richter
Israa Alareed
Souad El-Shobasy
Monica Coelho
Pam Barnett
Mike Alexander
Mobola Olorunfunoar
Jennifer Barry
Mike Naismith
Kristy Estabalaya
Jill Toney
Dana Peltier
Carlysle Bortolotti
Krista Loughead
Al-Fadl Osman
Fatima Nareed
Shannon Price
Bree Moir
Sarah Crowe
Sara Swathi
Tehmeene Hassau
Lisa Moore
Melissa St. Onge
Yu Lin
Kate Holland
DanDan Ai
Brooklyn Chenery
Kristen Laughton
Tamsin Magor
Sara Hillis
Anna Basque
Monica Sokolowski
Jenna Rocheleau
Sarah DiLuca
Allison Derby
Emma Warrow
Samantha Marentette
Shelby MacDonald
Michael Di Maio

Roudina Makhlou
Andrea Brown
Caleigh Landale-Fletcher
Alexandra Brown
Amanda Michard
Riley Barron
Joe Guthrie
Dupe Akinsanya
Sabrina Coppola
Sameea Khan
Catherine Preston
Brianna Craig
Julia Chick
Chinyere Saka
Ashley Swan
Haylee Karenya
Emily Stiles
Tala Bitar
Sen Yan Wang
Ericka Greenham
Yanan Tan
Marissa Lepera
Jacintha Hopson
Karissa Sardinha
Priti Patel
During National Volunteer Week , get to know our volunteers and thank them for their efforts.

If you are interested in volunteering please contact the Centre at 519.252.9696 or email
Our donors are at the heart of our Centre. They help provide the funding that supports our Centre in providing free, high quality programs and services to our community. We simply cannot put into words what their generosity means to our staff, volunteers and community members, so we will just say this - THANK YOU!
Sharon & Phil Paolini
Barb Brown
Louise Chabot
Caroline & Kevin Loughead
Darlene Grimmer
Gerald & Madeline Boussey
Mrs. C. Pauline Murray
House of LaWind
Ericka Greenham
McGregorettes Ladies Auxilary
Pam Barnett

Theresa Gillan
Windsor Volunteers for Literacy
Manulife Financial

Dr. Krista Loughead, ND
Upcoming Event
Dads Matter Spitfires Event
This event is sponsored by the Dads Matter Steering Committee
When: March 18, 2018
Where: WFCU Centre
Time: 12:30 p.m. (Puck drops at 2:05 p.m.)
Description: Join us for snacks and beverages and create a Windsor Spitfires sign which will be judged by Bomber with the winner getting an exclusive dressing room tour and access to the “High Five Tunnel.” Skate with the Spitfires after the game! Bring your skates and helmets. Autographs and photos. $17 per ticket.

For more information call 519.252.9696.
Upcoming Event
Parenting Matters Conference
Organized by the Dads Matter Steering Committee
Sponsored by the Windsor Essex Community Foundation and St.Clair College Alumni Association
Date: Saturday, April 21
Location: F.J. Brennan High School
Time: 9:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m.
Workshops include:
Social Media - “When Private is Public”, Love, Learning & Balance in Parenting, Parenting Through Separation and Divorce, The Benefits of Contact with Nature for Our Children’s Mental, Physical and Spiritual Wellbeing, Lessons from the Blender: Successful Parenting in Blended Families, School and Home Connections, Building Resilience in Children, and Work and Family Balance.

To register or for more information please click here .
Upcoming Event
Date Night
Sponsored by the Connections Dads Activities Committee
Date: Tuesday, March 27
Time: 5: 00 p.m. - 7:30 p.m.
Location: Connections Early Years Family Centre
Discussion Topic: Communicating with Your Partner 'How to be on the Same Page'

Includes dinner for two, a presentation and child care. There is no cost to attend this event. To register please call the Centre at 519.252.9696.
Upcoming Event
Sunday with Dad 'Do & Play
Sponsored by the Connections Dads Activities Committee
Date: Sunday, May 6
Location: Connections Early Years Family Centre
Time: 1:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m.
Dads, Granddads or significant males in your child's life with children 0 - 6, join us for a fun afternoon of playtime and instructions for boy and girl hairstyles.

To register or for more information please call the Centre at 519.252.9696.
Please Note:
Our Centre will be closed
the following dates:

March 30
Good Friday
April 2
Easter Monday
May 21
Victoria Day
Connect With Us
Connections Early Years Family Centre | |Phone: 519.252.9696
Connections Early Years Family Centre is a
progressive family-centered organization
providing integrated support, learning and
early identification/intervention services
to advance the healthy development of
families and their children o-6 years of age
in Windsor-Essex County.