Huron Playschool Cooperative

Teacher's Pet

Mr. Bubbles

There is no one at playschool who has seen more than Mr. Bubbles, Huron Playschool's resident goldfish for almost fifteen years. He's watched hundreds of children come and go, and has helped many of them settle into our classroom and become comfortable in this new setting. In his easy, swimmy way, Mr. Bubbles gives our little people a sense of responsibiiity as they help care for a creature smaller than themselves, and provides a calming presence for the group.

Goldfish in the News:

Childcare co-ops featured in Enterprise Magazine

The history and future of childcare co-ops with all their benefits and challenges are explored in Alexandra Samur's piece, "The Quest for Quality Childcare,"  in the November issue of Enterprise Magazine: 

Childcare co-ops grew out of need. They originated in the U.S. in the early 1900s in small or rural communities where public childcare facilities simply would not have existed otherwise. In Canada, B.C. families first began organizing preschool cooperatives in the 1940s, with organizations such as the Association of Cooperative Play Groups of Greater Vancouver and Vancouver Island’s Cooperative Preschools leading the way. Shortly after, Ontario and Quebec parent groups also began holding informal meetings. Today, they do more than merely provide a much-needed resource. Participatory models of cooperative childcare can foster social inclusion among traditionally marginalized groups. (Read the whole thing here.)

We're pleased to offer the co-op model to families looking for quality childcare/ daycare in the Annex Neighbourhood here in Toronto. Co-op programs have lower fees and stronger community ties, resulting in great experiences for children and their families alike. 

Two Purple Figs

From our "Cool Stuff Playschool Parents Get Up To" file, we bring you Playschool Mom Mahy and her online enterprise, Two Purple Figs. Mahy is a recipe developer, food stylist, culinary instructor, photographer, wife and busy mom, and she's doing it all on her site with new recipes all the time, fantastic photography to tempt you to try them—and oh, the rewards of actually doing so (i.e. the eating. Her Sweet Potato Black Bean Soup blew my mind!). 

As you'd expect from a food blogger who's also a mom, there are plenty of great kid and family friendly recipes to try. We've become particularly fond of her Instant Chia Chocolate Pudding at our house, a really easy, delicious and nutritious chocolate treat. I sent it to Playschool too during the week I was on snack duty, and it went over a charm. The kids love it. And if you're requiring photographic proof of that, check out the photo on the right. 

Check out more of Mahy's wonderful recipes. 

Huron Playschool Loves Books

One of the best parts of having a history stretching back nearly five decades is that our library has been around just as long, and so we have a huge collection of books to share with our children. This means that our bookshelves are ever-refreshed, new books put out all the time for classes to read together or for children to explore on their own. Our reading choices can be themed around seasons, cultural celebrations, ideas we're learning about in our programs, and those old stand-bys that everyone loves: books about dogs, babies, construction equipment and dinosaurs. Tracey also visits the Toronto Public Library often to borrow books and offer even more variety. A few times a year too we make the trip down Bloor Street to the Spadina Road Library to hear stories and participate in other children's programming. The library is definitely one of our favourite Annex neighbours. 

Other great children's book/ early literacy resources: 

The Canadian Children's Book Centre

Toronto Public Library Ready for Reading

Picture Book Fridays at PickleMeThis

CanLit for Little Canadians

Our Enrichment Programs

Enrichment programs expand our children's horizons, providing the opportunity to learn and practice new skills under the guidance of expert teachers. And most of all, these programs are fun! This year, students in the morning and after-school programs have had a great time with dance and music classes. Learn more about Music with Jennielea, and Dancing with Carolyn. Thank you to both teachers for all their amazing energy—we're so glad you're part of our community!

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. 

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