Early On Center in Sandal Wood, Heartlake was established in 1984 as when a small clique of parents saw how important a support network was in raising their children. It is from this need that the organization was created, from a need for parents to come together and learn and grow from other parents. The Early On Center has existed for more than 30 years, and he needs which it addressed at the time of its inception, are still the same things which are experienced by parents and caregivers across every community. The organization’s mission and vision for families, its agency mission and the values have all been built around those needs. It started as a good idea; to help each other, their friends and their neighbors to raise their children, and it has now grown to be a culture and a way of life for families all over Peel. Services offered are those for infants, toddlers, preschool, family, parenting and prenatal services.
Services offered for infants include babies on the move, which ranges from 9 to 18-month-old babies. Babies on the move are for crawling, creeping, walking and running babies. Other services are infant’s drop-ins, infants massage, mother goose, mother goose in the park, mother goose stroller walk and ready, set, go! Services offered for toddlers include baby on the move, Rose programme, and sibling rivalry and toddler time. For preschool services, these include activities such as discovery time, games and gigs, preschool time and sibling rivalry. Family services are also offered and these incorporate amigos de Lora, learn with us, circle story time, dental screening, drop in, family kitchen and family mother goose integration. Parenting services offered include baby led weaning, babywearing, behavior, and limits, breastfeeding care, CPR and first aid, emotions of early motherhood, toddler learning, transitioning to children, understanding baby sleep among others. Prenatal services are offered as well to participants. From this visit to the organization, I learned how important it is in developing and taking care of infants at that young age. This is the most critical stage in a child’s growth (Morgan, 2017)
The organization has some stakeholders who include the parents, children and the organization’s partners. The parents form a critical part of the organization because they are primarily the clients, as well as the primary stakeholder. Children also are the stakeholders because without them there would be no need to help build strong adults in the future. The organization’s partners and financiers also form an essential part of the group (Deater-Deakead & Panneton, 2017) &. They help in bringing together resources which assist in the daily running of the organization. These partners are Pill District Board, Green Shield Canada, Brampton Flower City, Mississauga, Brampton and Caledon Community Foundation, Four Corners among others.
The organization’s target group they are serving is children and mothers, as well as parents. This helps in building the community. When children are brought up well, with the right set of values and proper virtues, they grow into responsible and noble adults in their communities (Arsenberg, 2017). This, in turn, helps these communities to develop as well as benefit from individual growth of these children later in life. Parents, on the other hand, are taught how best to parent their children. This will have a ripple effect in the communities because well-parented kids grow up to be responsible adults. Good parenting will also significantly reduce child deaths which arise from bad parenting.
The organization builds on the strengths of the participants by engaging them in their activities. Parents can offer their life skills in the programs offered and learn from each other considering each one of them comes from a different background. The principle I heard of was the “Bottom-up” or “grassroots” practice (Edwards, 2015). This involves merely community participation as well as focussing on local stakeholders in decision making.
Arensberg, C. M. (2017). Introducing social change: A manual for community development. Routledge.
Deater-Deckard, K. D., & Panneton, R. (2017). Parental Stress and Early Child Development. Springer.
Edwards, M. B. (2015). The role of sport in community capacity building: An examination of sport for development research and practice. Sport Management Review, 18(1), 6-19.
Morgan, R. (2017). The Critical Age and Stage of Child Development: An Investigation Into the Process of Mandating Kindergarten Attendance (Doctoral dissertation, Chicago State University).