History of the Edmonton Hospital Workers Child Care Society
The Edmonton Hospital Workers Child Care Society was incorporated as a non-profit organization in October of 1981. A volunteer board has been part of the society since its inception, mostly made up of parents of children in either the Daycare or Day Homes (Aug 2006 – Day Home program was closed).
The Society was born from the needs of hospital employees who found that obtaining child care was difficult and wanted a centre that was close to work. There seemed to be a large number of single mothers who had no options or alternatives when it came to the hospital shifts. Our ability to offer child care for shift working mothers allowed them to be able to fulfill work commitments with the peace of mind of knowing that their children were in a safe, loving environment.
In April of 2018, Edmonton Hospital Workers Child Care Society was excited to have been named one the 100 new Early Learning and Child Care (ELCC) Centres across Alberta. For two years, we offered evening and weekend care funded by this ELCC Pilot. Unfortunately in 2020, the global COVID-19 pandemic made it impossible to continue operating our extended hours program, and then the program was permanently defunded by the ending of the pilot.
Description of the Early Learning and Childcare Program
Our early learning centre is located in the Glenrose Rehabilitation Hospital and provides care for 27 children ages 10 months to 6 years. The hours of operation are 6:45 am to 5:30 pm.
Currently we have 12 full-time enrolments in our toddler room (10 months – 2.5 years) and 15 in our preschool room (2.5 – 6 years). We also have a limited number of short-term contingency care spaces available for hospital staff or patient families to use when the need arises.
Our program is inspired by the philosophies and practises of the Reggio Emilia Approach and the work and philosophy of Magda Gerber. Our commitment to recognizing and respecting the individual strengths and interests of each child, along with our commitment to serve the Glenrose community, was one of the factors that lead to our leadership team becoming 2014 Child Development Professional Awards of Excellence recipients in the Team category.
Unique Features of the Early Learning program
Having the Early Learning centre at the Glenrose Rehabilitation Hospital offers a unique opportunity for the parents and the children who attend, the staff, patients, and families at the Glenrose.
We offer short-term contingency care for patient families, so they can visit and/or attend appointments with their loved ones, knowing their young children are being cared for in a safe and developmentally appropriate space. Financial assistance is available; we intend to make sure that access to childcare is not a barrier to receiving services in the Glenrose or Royal Alex.
Being part of the Glenrose allows the children to access excellent facilities with some very nice features. For example, if the weather is poor, the children can have up to two hours of Gym Time in the Glenrose Hospital’s full sized gymnasium. The playgrounds and equipment outside are developmentally appropriate for children of all ages and developmental levels, and there are miles of hallways to get out and walk through no matter what the weather, which encourages both children and staff to be active and fit. We have the opportunity to take part in a variety of on-site “field trips” to such places as the hair salon, cafeteria, power centre, x-ray lab, dental clinic, and so on, as determined by the children’s interests. The immediate neighbourhood also offers boundless opportunities to explore, watch construction work, and wave to the LRT as it passes.
The central location of the Glenrose Hospital makes it very accessible for families working in downtown Edmonton, especially since the opening of the Kingsway/Royal Alex LRT Station. For working parents employed at the Royal Alex Hospital or Glenrose Hospital having a high quality licensed early learning and childcare facility on site is a real privilege. It helps to reduce the stress of new parents, and helps parents feel connected and close to their children throughout their work day. Parents often opt to come and have lunch with their children!
Another unique aspect the location is that it fosters social and moral development of the children. They are exposed throughout their day to adults and children who are living with disabilities. The Glenrose programs work with the very young to the very old. What a learning opportunity for the children and what a chance to foster understanding and appreciation for people who have different abilities. Having the Daycare onsite also brings joy to the patients, their families and the staff at the Glenrose who see the little ones in the halls, the gym or Special Events.
We welcome children of all abilities, and will not turn a child away on the basis of additional needs unless we are already at capacity. We are happy to collaborate with a child’s clinicians, and sometimes children whose regular speech, physio, or occupational therapists are in the Glenrose may have their therapy appointments right in our classrooms!