Capital Child Care Centre hadn’t initially been on Dara Spatz Friedman’s radar. She discovered it when looking for care for her twoyear-old daughter and she instantly felt at ease because it was just so welcoming. “I was really impressed with the physical space,” says Friedman. Parents are surprised when they visit Capital Child Care Centre in the basement of Trinity Anglican Church at the corner of Bank Street and Cameron Avenue. “I know, you say basement and people think dark and small,” says Friedman. “But the Centre is spacious and bright and has lots of space for little kids to play.” She says she found the teachers to be very skilled, welcoming and they really cared about the children. “My daughter was two years old, and I was pregnant with my son,” says Friedman, “so I was kind of new to parenting. Their expertise was reassuring, and they were just so nice. It felt really comfortable.” She says that the other parents were friendly and supportive as well. “There was just such a good community environment,” says Friedman, “and a great way to make those connections and foundations in the neighbourhood.” Her two children, Willa, and Linden, have wonderful memories of the Centre. “It’s amazing what they remember of the fun programming,” says Friedman. “And they still have friends that they’ve grown up with from daycare and are now classmates at Hopewell. We’ve even stayed in touch with our children’s pre-school teacher – she’s like part of the family. The Centre is truly a neighbourhood treasure.” Fifty years ago, the women at Trinity Anglican Church realized there was a need for organized childcare. So, they created one. “I have the original book created by the Board of Directors laying out the rules and parameters of how it would work,” says Rose Ann Cotter, Program Coordinator, and Registered Early Childhood Educator for Capital Child Care Centre. “It’s all hand-written and very detailed, so a nice slice of the history of how the daycare came to be.” Originally, the centre was run as a parent-coop, along with about eight others in the city. “The parent co-ops were stand alone,” says Cotter, “but they supported each other.” The co-ops tried to create something similar to the Andrew Fleck model but that wasn’t working, and the Capital Centre was particularly vulnerable to financial issues. So, they decided, along with four other parent coops, to join Andrew Fleck. “We really admired the quality of service that could be delivered by joining Andrew Fleck,” says Cotter, “so we signed on April 1, 2020. It was just as COVID-19 hit. If we hadn’t done that we may have had to close permanently.” Now the Capital Child Care Centre is strong and stable and can continue to be part of the Old Ottawa South Community. “We love being part of this community,” says Cotter. “We’ve now got students involved, three more staff people and work with the Engage at Every Age Intergenerational Project as well. We like to think that we give back a lot of ‘warm and fuzzies’ too.”
Celebrate with the Andrew Fleck Capital Child Care Centre for their 50th Anniversary on Saturday, June 10 from noon to 3 pm. There’ll be refreshments available, and the Centre will have tons of photos on display of children and parents throughout the years. It will be a nice reunion for many in the community. And if a daycare is in your future, drop in and check it out. You’ll be impressed by what the Centre has to offer.
Sheryl Bennett-Wilson is a longtime Old Ottawa South resident