By Karen Cameron in collaboration with Larissa Deacon
On October 2, Good Morning Creative Arts and Preschool (GMCAPS) opened its doors again after the pandemic shutdown, though with reduced programming. GMCAPS has been a wonderful resource for Glebe children and their families since 1981. It is a parent-run cooperative with a volunteer board and offers a variety of programs that provide children with a creative and positive learning environment. Programs are designed to enhance curiosity and initiative, improve self-esteem, develop gross and fine motor skills, and provide social interaction within the child’s peer group
During the COVID-19 pandemic, GMCAPS is following strict public health protocols and has reduced enrollment to a maximum of 12 children in only one program (reduced from the usual five). This approach offers parents the option to forgo kindergarten during the pandemic if they wish to opt for a lower-ratio program that minimizes contact.
The children need time to adjust to being in a program away from home, but we are excited to introduce our new and returning friends to many creative adventures. After being in a mostly isolated environment for the past seven months, the children are ready to be back in a group environment where they can explore, express themselves, learn new things and be creative with our amazing educators.
Parents must also adjust to the COVID world with daily health screenings, limited access to the classroom and a constant worry about the health and safety of their children in a preschool environment. I get it – it is a worry for us all and I don’t like to see the rise of case numbers in our schools. But rest assured we are working hard under the guidance of Ottawa Pubic Health and the Ministry of Education to ensure we are following all the new health protocols and enhanced cleaning required to keep us all safe.
Our Preschool and Beyond is for children between the ages of 31 months and six years as of Sepember 1. This program runs Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings from 9 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. It focuses on social skills and individual participation during circle time using themes familiar to the child. We also offer an optional Lunch Club to extend the day until 1 p.m., and the children get extra time to play in the gross motor room, always a big hit, and chat with friends. There may also be an option for parents to add Tuesdays and Thursdays to their child’s Preschool and Beyond Program (+Lunch Club) so their child can attend five days a week. We are offering this new option to help families during this time, but we need a minimum enrollment of five children to go ahead with it.
This year marks my 20th anniversary at GMCAPS and 10th year as director. I started as a supply teacher in 2000 and have worked in all of the school’s programs. I was particularly involved in developing the Creative Arts program for school-aged children and look forward to a post pandemic world when after-school art classes for ages JK to Grade 6 can once again be offered.
With fewer children enrolled in our programs, it means fewer fees are being paid so we will be going back to some fun virtual options to help fill this gap. We are offering weekly Virtual Art Classes on Thursdays at 5 p.m. Check out our Facebook and Instagram pages for samples of the children’s amazing creations using simple materials found at home with my step-by-step guidance. Any school-aged child can come and create with us for just $10 a class.
We are excited to introduce Kayla Dolman as she joins GMCAPS this year, bringing a background in early childhood education within a senior preschool room as well as a range of experience in writing, storytelling and theatre. She is a graduate of Algonquin College’s Early Childhood Education program and is currently pursuing further studies in the Autism and Behavioural Science program, specializing in children with developmental and behavioural needs.
Parents who are interested in further information about Good Morning Creative Arts and Preschool programs can check out our website at gmcaps.com, or contact the school by phone at 613-276-7974 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Registration for the upcoming year is still open with two spaces currently available.
Karen Cameron is director of Good Morning Creative Arts and Preschool. Larissa Deacon is a parent volunteer in the school.