Goodbye, Good Morning Creative Arts & Preschool
Avalina, Casey, Ben and Matthew enjoy a popsicle after a hot day of preschool
photo: Katherine Liston
By Katherine Liston
Sadly, after 41 years in the Glebe, Good Morning Creative Arts & Preschool will be closing its doors permanently.
After our building at 174 First Avenue was sold, many parent volunteers, staff and community supporters stepped up to try to relocate the school to a new location. Despite looking at commercial spaces as well as shared tenancies and partnerships with community organizations both in the Glebe and in other central neighbourhoods, finding a suitable location proved to be extremely difficult. We conducted an extensive search for a spot that would be affordable and meet the Ministry of Education’s requirements for licensed childcare spaces.
While we did eventually find a possible location, it was significantly larger and more expensive, required extensive renovations and was in a different neighbourhood. We determined that to make a larger, more costly space work, we would need to introduce options for full-time care, increase our licensing capacity and hire additional staff. As our timeline grew tighter and we became committed to more and more changes to make the new space a viable option, we began to question if we would still be “Good Morning” after so many changes. It was in these circumstances, complicated by rising rental rates, lack of support from the city’s Children’s Services, a shortage of early childhood educators and reduced demand for part-time preschool programs, that we came to this difficult conclusion.
As we say goodbye to this neighbourhood institution, it is worth revisiting its history Good Morning Playgroup, as it was first called, was founded in 1981 by a group of neighbourhood parents as a playgroup for toddlers. It was initially hosted in a parent’s home. The playgroup went on to lease space from St. Giles Presbyterian Church in the basement of Logan Vencta Hall at 174 First Avenue. Over time, the playgroup evolved into a licensed, not-for-profit, cooperative preschool with part-time programs for two- and three-year-olds. In 2007, the preschool added an arts-based, after-school program and changed its name to Good Morning Creative Arts & Preschool (GMCAPS). GMCAPS remained at Logan Vencta Hall when the building was first sold by St. Giles to a dance studio. However, our lease ended in July, and the former church hall will now be converted to a private residence.
The board of directors would like to thank this year’s team of educators for providing such wonderful care to our kids during an uncertain time. Karen, Lauren and Jenn, thank you, and we wish you all the best! A special thank you goes to Karen Cameron, who has been instrumental in creating such a special environment for children in our neighbourhood for more than two decades. Cameron has been working tirelessly behind the scenes to administer the new childcare subsidy while simultaneously working as an educator and working on the relocation plans. It is truly impossible to quantify the positive impact that she and Good Morning have had on so many children and families during her tenure at the school. We are so happy to hear that she, will be offering after-school art classes in the Glebe. We are looking forward to hearing more about Creative Arts Kids!
Lastly, thank you to the evolving community that has been part of Good Morning. To every parent who made playdough or reluctantly took on a board position, to every student who learned to put on their coat or who read a book up on the stage, to every educator who loved and cared for our neighbourhood’s children, thank you for being part of Good Morning’s story.
Katherine Liston is a parent volunteer and president of the board of directors at Good Morning Creative Arts & Preschool.