Day Care celebrates 35 years

A day care goer plants a tree to wish the Day Care Centre a happy birthday.
A day care goer plants a tree to wish the Day Care Centre a happy birthday.

A tree planting ceremony and corn roast kicked off the Queen’s Day Care Centre’s 35th anniversary celebrations last Friday.

Excited children, parents, volunteers and day care staff attended the event, which celebrated the rich history of the organization.

The centre was unofficially founded in 1969 when student parents took turns minding one another’s children during their classes. Thirty-five years later, the cooperative system has evolved into a two-building facility on Union Street, which cares for more than 150 children each week.

The ceremony began with a speech about the significance of the tree on the lawn of the Centre’s 184 Union St. location.

“This seedling symbolizes the children of the past 35 years and the many more certain to fill the centre’s classrooms and playgrounds,” said Jeff Mewburn, president of the day care centre’s board of directors.

“We plant [the seedling] today with a vision that, like the Queen’s Day Care, it will continue to flourish and have a positive influence on those within its reach,” he said.

Parents and children who use the Centre took turns shoveling the earth.

Some students who were once day care centre children themselves have gone on to work in the Centre’s classrooms, benefiting generations of families.

“Now that’s worth celebrating,” Mewburn said.

Principal Karen Hitchcock, who was originally scheduled to assist in the planting of the tree, was unable to attend the ceremony.

The group marched across the street, led by a bagpiper to 164 Union St., the infant and toddler division of the day care centre. A barbeque was arranged and Highland dancers entertained the crowd. It wasn’t long before a few children joined in, imitating the moves of the Highland Fling.

Jill Scott, member of the board of directors and professor in the German department, has a son and daughter who attend the Centre. She said few students are aware of the Centre when they pass by it on Union Street.

“We wish to raise the visibility of the day care on campus,” Scott said.

Eileen Beauregard, executive director of the board, showed the Journal a vibrant new science room which was completed using last year’s student fee contributions. The centre is partially supported by a one dollar opt-out student fee.

Over the years, Queen’s Day Care has become a sought-after facility in the Kingston area, with a lengthy waiting list of interested parents. Children of students and faculty are given priority, though members of the Kingston community may also apply.

Beauregard said easily 80 per cent of the Centre’s parent clients are students.

The Centre will continue to celebrate its anniversary throughout October. Amongst other events, the Sleepless Goat will display an art gallery of work created by day care centre children.

An open house is planned for Homecoming weekend, on Oct. 23 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Alumni and community members are encouraged to attend.

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