Hello, my name is Brenda, and I have volunteered to write a short article about The Cridge Nursery, which happens to be a part of my own story. This is my third time working here over the last 32 years, and it is interesting to reflect upon what is different and what has remained the same. I am also thinking about the stages and events of one’s life and all the programs and opportunities available here. A lot of development has been happening in the field of early childhood education. Also, parenting styles have changed over the last three decades. The reasons for choosing to work here are both personal and very much about being a part of something bigger than yourself mostly though it comes back to being about the people.
What is different between the 1980s and now? The biggest thing would be maternity leaves increasing from six months to a year. It was tricky at times to juggle the needs of infants and crawlers and walkers all in the same playroom, but I still had the energy to attend evening classes for my Infant/Toddler Diploma with “Joy Joy” (Joy Smith). The nursery program expanded from a classroom in the main building to a renovated townhouse which now houses programs for families. One of the first babies there was Paula’s West-Patrick’s son Matthew. Paula was also an infant-toddler care provider at the time, and now these many years later is the Manager of Children’s Services for The Cridge Centre.
I got married the same month as Janine Davies in 1991 (who has worked for The Cridge since 1988 herself) and moved on to new adventures including parenthood. As my son and daughter reached school age, I was ready to return first as the kitchen/laundry/lunch relief assistant and eventually as the Preschool teacher. After watching the new childcare building go up, it was exciting to move into a beautiful new classroom. My former Wiseways Preschool boss Mimi Davis was in the boardroom next door with the Respitality program. As a bus driver, there were many field trips for preschool and daycare, and occasional school drop-offs and pickups to help out. When I subbed during summers, my children attended a few weeks of High 5’s with Angela Brunwald and Marianne Jacques or SunFun with Sarah Smith and crew. My working helped us buy a house for my fortieth birthday, which led to a decade of daycare in my home.
Now my family daycare babies are in school, and my twenty-somethings are happier living in an adult-focused home. After taking a 6-month break to deal with some middle age health issues, friends at The Cridge encouraged me to try relief work. I am settling in nicely, not only am I caring for former children’s children, but even some coworkers were children formerly in my care! I look around the daycare and main office and other programs today and see many familiar faces. I am loving the freedom of subbing in a busy multicultural, multiage, diversely socio-economic organization. It’s a great place to hang out for a few years and work on my future Grandma skills.
To learn more about The Cridge Childcare Services click here.