Who We Are
EarlyON Child and Family Centres are open to all families in Ontario. They are welcoming places that offer a range of services and resources, where you can:
- Connect with other families with young children;
- Find new baby support and parenting workshops;
- Engage in activities such as play and exploration, storytelling, and creative expression;
- Get advice from professionals to support child development, nutrition, positive guidance strategies and more;
- Find out about other family services in your community
Many programs are offered on weekdays, evenings and weekends to be responsive and fit the needs of families.
EarlyON Child and Family Centres are funded by the Province of Ontario. The City of St. Thomas, as the service manager designated by the Province of Ontario, is responsible for the local management of EarlyON in St. Thomas-Elgin. EarlyON programs and services in the region are delivered by three service providers: Tiny Tots Co-Operative Nursery School of Aldborough Inc. (West Elgin and Dutton-Dunwich), YMCA of Southwestern Ontario (City of St. Thomas, Southwold, and Central Elgin), and Community Living Elgin (Town of Aylmer, Malahide, and Bayham).
What to Expect at an EarlyON Program
EarlyON child and family programs and services can vary greatly from one location to another. Some programs may be offered in brick-and-mortar spaces, such as schools or community centres, other programs may “pop up” in local parks or temporary spaces to meet specific community or programming needs, and virtual programs are also available. Children, parents, and caregivers can expect a common set of core services regardless of which location they attend.
- A welcoming environment that is open to children aged 0-6 years with their caregiver;
- All expecting parents, parents, caregivers and home child care providers have access to high quality services that support them in their role;
- All children have access to inclusive, play and inquiry-based learning opportunities to improve their developmental health and well-being;
- Local service providers collaborate in an integrated way to meet the needs of children and families and actively engage parents and caregivers in contributing in meaningful ways.
Pre-Registration and Enhanced Health and Safety Protocols
- Pre-registration is currently required to attend EarlyON Child and Family Centres to promote enhanced health and safety.
- View program calendars and pre-register at keyon.ca or by phone by calling the EarlyON program in the region of St. Thomas-Elgin that you wish to attend.
- Please register every individual attending – all children and adults.
- Home childcare providers – licensed or unlicensed – cannot attend in-person EarlyON programs at this time as advised by Southwestern Public Health as related to the Ministry of Education’s Operational Guidance for Child Care During COVID-19 Outbreak (see page 7 RE: not mixing cohorts/groups).
- Capacity: Programs must currently operate at a reduced capacity to observe gathering limits specified by the Government of Ontario and to allow for participants to maintain physical distancing requirements of at least 2 metres.
- Screening: Parents and caregivers are required to screen themselves and their children prior to attending an EarlyON Centre. If they, or any of their household contacts, have any new or worsening symptom of COVID-19, as indicated in the COVID-19 School and Child Care Screening Tool, even if only one symptom, they must stay home until:
- They receive a negative COVID-19 test result
- They receive an alternative diagnosis by a health care professional, or
- It has been 10 days since their symptom onset and they are feeling better.
- Physical Distancing: EarlyON programs and services must be offered in a way that maintains physical distancing of at least two metres amongst all individuals at all times.
- Masks: All adults (parents/caregivers/essential visitors) and children age 2 and above are required to wear a face covering or non-medical mask.
- Hand Hygiene: Follow good hand hygiene by using hand sanitizer and hand washing using soap and water.
- For more information on the requirements for EarlyON Centres to operate with enhanced health and safety protocols during the COVID-19 outbreak, please see the Ministry of Education’s Operational Guidance for EarlyON Child and Family Centres During COVID-19 Outbreak.