Nursery school is not provided by the River East Transcona School Division. Parents of three- and four-year-old kids must pay for their children to attend nursery schools and daycares run by private sources. But if parents are not willing or able to pay, there are fortunately a few invaluable programs available.
TIE Tykes is a program for parents with children aged up to six years and it is a vital part of the security net that supports families from Elmwood to East Kildonan.
"We have registered over 170 families," says program co-ordinator Leilani Esteban.
"Our goal is to develop workshops and programs for the parents and the community.
"While our main focus is early years, we try to help parents through the provision of programming that focuses on four pillars — literacy, nutrition, parenting, and community capacity."
Provisions are provided with the help of several crucial partnerships.
"We are primarily funded by Healthy Child Manitoba, the Manitoba government’s Neighbourhoods Alive and the City of Winnipeg’s Healthy Together Now’," Estaban said.
"Our other partners include Frontier College, who provide literacy services, Giant Tiger, who donate gift certificates and the Concordia Foundation. We have wonderful relationships with the WRHA, various daycares and we couldn’t operate without our two locations — the Chalmers Community Centre (480 Chalmers Ave.) and the Elmwood East Kildonan Active Living Centre (180 Poplar Ave.)."
Leilani toured me around the Chalmers Community Centre where I met with the office and grounds staff.
"Do you know what’s amazing? Everyone working here is a volunteer" she said.
Impressive, taking into account the well-maintained building. The large kitchen was well-equipped and cleaner than most I’ve seen.
"This is where we teach our Food Handlers Certificate and prepare our daily snacks. It is a community kitchen that not only operates as a canteen but provides families a place to learn recipes and spend quality time together."
My tour was in between the programming hours and I did not meet any of the kids but I did get to see the youth room and meet two facilitators, Natalia and Trinette.
Natalia is schooled in environmental science but found her passion for working with kids while organizing various youth environmental programs.
Trinette, who was filing in for co-worker Ashley, seemed equally passionate about the centre.
"Our facilitators are really good at building relationships with parents so they are able to know who needs what, we are a tight knit community like a family" Leilani said.
To learn more about programs such as family sharing circles, PPP parenting, stroller clubs and the different themed events, don’t hesitate to phone, drop-in or check the calendar online.
"All of our programming is free. We provide safe, comfortable secure places for kids to play together.
For more information, visit www.tie-pcc.ca or call 204-890-3282.
Evan Comstock is a community correspondent for East Kildonan.