EarlyOn Children’s Program looking for permanent home in Perth

Joyce Buckley
Joyce Buckley explains the need for a permanent space to run EarlyON programs in the town of Perth. Photo credit: Emilie Must.
Posted on: September 11, 2019

Perth council passed a motion for town staff to look for affordable rental spaces for the EarlyON program.

Executive Director Sue Cavanaugh and Perth program coordinator Joyce Buckley presented a delegation requesting help finding a permanent space that’s large enough for large groups. EarlyON is funded through the Ministry of Education but its limited. 

“We serve a really important function for the health of people, but often get bumped around the subpar facilities,” Buckley said. “We get put in buildings with stairs that aren’t accessible, too small and in basements.” 

They currently run the program out of Stewart School, but the lease ends after 10 months. In the last year the program was forced to move sites three times. 

“The EarlyON program is low on the totem poll of services,” Cavanaugh told council. 

The EarlyON program has operated in Lanark County since the mid 1990s and caters to young children up to age six and their families. 

“The first five years of a child’s life is very foundational for the success of the child,” Buckley said. “It’s not a daycare, it’s an integrated educational facility.” 

Some of the families their programs supports include a Syrian refugees, teenage mothers and every socioeconomic strata in Perth. More than 500 children have accessed the program in the last year. 

“We serve a really important function for the health of people, but often get bumped around the subpar facilities,” Buckley said. “We get put in buildings with stairs that aren’t accessible, too small and in basements.” 

They also have provide children’s health services on wheels, making it easy for families in rural areas to access. 

“It’s free so all children have a level playing field,” Buckley said. “Our community has shown that they want the site, they want services.

Article by Emilie Must