Huron Playschool Cooperative

Playschool: The best decision we've made

Deciding when the time is right to begin pre-schooling can be difficult, and the answer is different for every child and every family. Playschool Mom Kelsie writes about making that decision in this gorgeous blog post about how it's all worked out for her family: 

"And here is the part where—spoiler alert—I try to put into words how starting Charlie at PlaySchool was hands down the best decision we’ve made for him in his short life thus far. Was it good for me? Definitely. Was it good for us? Absolutely. But what takes the cake is how good—I mean really really good—it has been for my little boy."

Read Kelsie's whole post here. 

Our History: 45 Years in Toronto's Annex

On the occasion of our 45th Anniversary in 2013, The Globe and Mail published an article about Huron Playschool and the various legacies of Rochdale College, "Toronto's great hippie experiment in free education and communal housing." The statue of the Unknown Student (pictured at right) is one of few artifacts remaining on the Rochdale site, which is now a Toronto Community Housing building—and certainly, many of our children have had fun running around on the raised platform where the statue sits. But culturally speaking, from Rochdale there emerged many important Toronto institutions, including Coach House Books, House of Anansi Press, the Hassle Free Clinic, and our very own Huron Playschool Cooperative. 

And our tradition is still a hugely important part of playschool's own culture today: 

"As was the case in the school’s inception, parental involvement is still a cornerstone of its operating model. Among other things, parents are required to come into the classroom and teach alongside staff three times a month in addition to assisting with event planning and administration.

“And when things happen in people’s lives that are not so good, the families are there to support each other,” adds [Playschool director] Tracey Pegg,'"

Read the article and learn more about our Rochdale connections here. 

Playschool and Poetry

After more than 45 years in the much storied Annex neighbourhood–so close to the University of Toronto and Coach House Books is our next-door neighbour after all—it does not surprise us that playschool has made its way into literature proper. Poet Chantel Lavoie references Huron Playschool Cooperative in her poem, "the lane," an ode to bp Nichol that appeared on Brick Books' Celebration of Canadian Poetry last year

The poem is about nichol, literature, maternal ambivalence, and the many selves we harbour as parents. And yes, about one particular lane, the one just outside our back door. Read the poem below. And let us know if you know of any other playschool literary references. 

*****

the lane, by Chantel Lavoie

The first way out of motherhood was once a mews
behind St. Thomas’s Anglican church
which fronts Huron Street in Toronto.

Passing with longing by the silent
always Coach House Press, I pushed
the child in his stroller
for those two and a half sacred
hours (counting drop-off,
counting pick-up) before rushing
to Robarts Library
to work on the book
about women writers
in the eighteenth century—
the ones I know about
who had servants
or were childless....

Read the whole thing here. 

Lasting Legacies

I never met Jenna Morrison, who was a playschool parent before my time, but her legacy lives on at Huron Playschool through the people I've met there who loved her and also the through contributions she made to our culture and spaces, most obvious among them the mural outside our playschool's door (pictured above). Shortly after Jenna's death, former playschool mom Nicky Poole wrote this beautiful blog post about the person she was and how much she gave to our community. Even nearly five years later, we continue to be shaped by her gifts. 

Simone Friedman Speech and Language Services

Huron Playschool Co-operative welcomes Simone Friedman Speech Language Services as a new friend and supporter.

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