What a year this has been! It goes without saying that in January we never would have expected the year to unfold as it has. This year has been full of unexpected changes to our lives and it is difficult to guess what the remaining months of the year will hold for us. In talking with parents, Providers, Agency supervisors and Home Visitors there is a mix of feelings that range from frustration, confusion and exhaustion to feelings of gratitude, hope and inspiration. We took our cue for the theme of this Newsletter from some of those discussions and wanted to share some stories and ideas to help motivate, inspire and uplift us all! We are calling this the “Inspiration Issue”. If this pandemic has taught us anything it is the importance of connection to others - with the decrease in face to face interactions, finding ways to connect is more important than ever. Our Agencies and Providers have found many ways to ensure that these connections are possible. As we head into another season of closures and uncertainty, here are some things that inspired us this year :
- All 42 of our Wee Watch Agencies remained opened throughout the pandemic (even when Childcare centers were closed)
- Many of our Providers opened their homes to take in children of Emergency and Essential workers (we had over 350 children of Emergency workers in our care!)
- Our Agencies go above and beyond in their communities, for example, many decorated their windows during lockdown for the enjoyment of others walking by, our Brampton Agency and their Providers collected food and baby items to deliver to the Knights Table Food Bank twice this year, our Brantford Agency, Providers and children all wore orange shirts in honour & remembrance of the indigenous children who were sent away to residential schools.
- Providers of numerous agencies worked with children to write and present thank you cards to Essential and emergency workers
- Our Providers found interesting ways to make wearing PPE, or transitioning to individual play, fun and creative for children
- In some areas, Providers received personalized letters from their Mayor, recognizing that the work they do is not only valuable but is an essential service that has helped keep the community functioning.
So many little things were done at the individual level, check out our Facebook and Instagram pages for so many wonderful examples beyond what we are sharing with you in this newsletter.
We also want to take this opportunity to thank all our Agency supervisors and staff, Home Visitors and Providers that have worked tirelessly the entire year to ensure that families that needed childcare throughout the pandemic had access to it. We welcome all our new Providers, that in the middle of great uncertainty in the world have opened their homes to families. We want to say that you are all an inspiration, our ‘unsung’ heroes of the pandemic.