Blackburn Hamlet Preschool

Blackburn Hamlet Preschool has been a beloved part of east-end Ottawa since 1971 and is dedicated to providing a warm and stimulating environment and exceptional early-learning programs for young children. Our co-operative preschool is run by an elected parent Board of Directors, the support of numerous volunteers, a program supervisor, and a staff of dedicated teachers. Our programs allow toddlers and preschoolers to explore and experiment while developing independence and a positive attitude toward school and learning. 

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What's New:

  • Capital Fundraising Campaign

    We've launched a major capital campaign to raise funds for the construction of our new location. We must raise $75,000 in order to initiate the first phase of the project. For details on the campaign and how to donate, visit our fundraising page.
  • Spaghetti Dinner Fundraiser

    Join us on Saturday, October 15, 2016 for a family dinner fundraiser. For more details, click here.
  • Featured page

    Capital Campaign

     pleasedonatetobhps.jpgAs announced on September 22nd, BHPS has launched a capital campaign to support our move to a new facility. This page will be the hub for information on the campaign, where we’ll provide answers to frequently asked questions, details on how you can donate, and updates on our current fundraising progress. If you have any questions or feedback about this project, you can contact us at

    How to donate

    With the assistance of the Community Foundation of Ottawa (CFO), we’ve created the Blackburn Hamlet Preschool Fund, which allows us to provide charitable receipts on all donations made. Donations can be made through the CFO’s donation portal, by mail, or through your United Way Workplace Campaign. Further details are below:

    Community Foundation of Ottawa Donation Portal

    To use the donation portal, visit  Search for “Blackburn Hamlet Preschool Fund.” On the screen that follows you can enter the details of your donation and choose between a one-time or monthly gift. Next, you’ll have the option to make this donation on someone’s behalf (click Skip e-card to bypass this option). Lastly, you’ll be asked to provide your payment information.

    Giving by Cheque(s)

    If you prefer not to make the donation online via credit card, you may also elect to donate to the Blackburn Hamlet Preschool Fund by a single cheque or a series of postdated cheques. If you wish to receive a same-year tax receipt, please ensure that your cheque is mailed (and postmarked) no later than December 31. Please make cheques payable to the Community Foundation of Ottawa, specifying the name of the fund, "Blackburn Hamlet Preschool Fund," in the memo field. Mail your gift to: The Community Foundation of Ottawa, 301-75 Albert St., Ottawa, ON, K1P 5E7.

    United Way Workplace Campaign

    The United Way pledge form allows you to direct funds to the charitable organization of your choosing. To do so, you need to provide the Registered Charity Name and the Charitable Registration Number of the organization you’d like to support. To direct your pledge to BHPS, enter Blackburn Hamlet Preschool Fund under Charity Name, and 119227981RR0001 for the Charitable Registration Number. If paying by cheque, cheques should be made payable to Ottawa Community Foundation, with Blackburn Hamlet Preschool Fund indicated in the memo line.  With the high volume of information that the United Way is processing at this time, the Community Foundation of Ottawa strongly advises that you fax them a copy of your pledge form so that they are able to follow up in case of any confusion. Standard United Way administration fees will be deducted from the gift before it is transferred to the Community Foundation of Ottawa. The CFO fax number is 613-236-1621.

    E-pledge for the United Way Workplace Campaign

    If your workplace uses the E-pledge form for the United Way Workplace Charitable Campaign, you may be unable to to find Blackburn Hamlet Preschool Fund when searching for Charity Name. Instead, the Charitable Registration Number 119227981RR0001 may show up simply as Community Foundation of Ottawa.  If this is the case, we encourage you to make your donation with the traditional paper donation form. On the paper form clearly specify that you wish your donation to be directed to the Blackburn Hamlet Preschool Fund.  As mentioned above, it is strongly recommended that you fax a copy of your pledge form to the Community Foundation of Ottawa to ensure they have a record of the designated fund to which you wish to donate. 

    Frequently Asked Questions

    What is the fundraising goal?

    The immediate goal of the campaign is to raise $75,000.

    How will my donation be used?

    The funds will be used to make a down payment on the new structure, which we require in order to secure financing for the full value of the facility. Donated funds will also be used to pay for various professional services related to the move and to the retrofit of the facility, including architectural, engineering, and legal fees.

    Can I make a donation directly to the preschool?

    Donations can be made directly to the preschool. However, as we are currently still in the process of converting to a registered charity, we cannot provide charitable receipts on any donations made directly to BHPS. Donors looking to receive a receipt are advised to give through the CFO website, or through their United Way workplace campaign.

    I'm trying to donate online through my work. Why can't I find Blackburn Hamlet Preschool when I search under Charity Name?

    On some online pledge systems, you will only be able to find the Community Foundation of Ottawa listed with the Charitable Registration Number 119227981RR0001.  This is because the Community Foundation of Ottawa is an umbrella for multiple community funds, all under the same charitable registration number, and the directory does not list the funds individually. The Community Foundation of Ottawa needs to know to which fund you wish to direct your donation.  If the online donation system provides a space for notes or special instructions, indicate Blackburn Hamlet Preschool Fund in that field. Otherwise, we recommend that you use a paper donation form and clearly indicate Blackburn Hamlet Preschool fund as the Charity Name with the Charitable Registration Number 119227981RR0001. You can also call the Community Foundation of Ottawa at 613-236-1616 for further assistance in making your donation.

    Other Questions?

    More information on ways to give can be found on the Community Foundation of Ottawa's website: The CFO's friendly staff are also available to answer questions by phone:  613-236-1616.


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    Background on BHPS

    About Blackburn Hamlet Preschool

    Blackburn Hamlet Preschool (BHPS) is a co-operative non-profit organization providing early learning programs to foster the social, emotional, physical and cognitive development of young children. BHPS was created in 1971 by parents who desired to establish a parent-directed preschool program in their neighbourhood. Since that time, BHPS has continued to operate as a partnership between parents and teachers, operating half-day programming for children aged 1.5 to 6 years on a not-for-profit basis. Parents are active participants in their children’s learning, as duty parents in the classroom, and as volunteers in the operation and governance of the Preschool. Since BHPS’s inception, the active involvement of families has been the defining characteristic of the program and foundation of the organizations longevity and success. The Preschool serves as a point of initial interaction for young families in the community, strengthening the community through increased interaction, connection, involvement, and volunteerism. 

    Issues and Changes in the Childcare Sector

    The childhood education sector has been in transition since 2010 when the Government of Ontario commenced a plan to modernize child care and early learning. The two primary components of the modernization plan were the introduction of full-day kindergarten for 4- and 5-year-olds and new legislation for the child-care sector. These changes have had a profound impact on the early learning and child care sector generally, and non-profit preschools and nursery schools in particular. Adapting to the new framework, given the scope and pace of the changes, has been particularly challenging for non-profits given their limited financial and human resources. Early learning centres like BHPS are faced with dual pressures. Due to reduced teacher-child ratios, training required for parent helpers, and further administrative costs, expenses have increased. And with most 4- and 5-year-olds in full-day kindergarten, revenue has significantly decreased.

    Since the changes have been introduced, a number of child care providers and preschools/nursery schools in Ottawa have closed as they were unable adjust their operations to the new requirements and remain viable. A number of other preschool and nursery schools have increased their fees, increased staff, decreased spaces, and/or eliminated the co-operative parent-helper model. As a result, there is a trend toward fewer affordable spaces in Ottawa for families looking for part-time early-learning programming for their children. 

    BHPS Relocation History

    In December of 2014, BHPS was notified that the City of Ottawa would not be renewing its lease. The decision to decommission the structure had been made following a City audit of the costs of maintaining and repairing the aging structure. Additionally, removing the building would create space for a future expansion of the Blackburn arena. BHPS immediately commenced searching for a new location, but it was impossible to find a new home in the 6-month timeframe provided. BHPS responded with a public relations campaign, alerting past and present parents, local politicians, and the community at large about the impending closure of the school. Thanks to the community’s reaction and through the influence of our city councilor, the school was granted a reprieve on its lease. The city gave BHPS a list of issues that would need to be addressed immediately. Repairs and improvements were promptly made by the preschool, and the city extended the lease by two years. At lease-end, however, BHPS would need both a new location and a new building because ministerial spacing requirements for preschools had changed. BHPS had been grandfathered-in at its current location, but a larger facility would be required once the preschool moved.

    The Board of Directors created the Location 2017 Committee, which was given the task of finding a new home for the preschool. The committee investigate all available options.

    • BHPS explored partnering with a local grade school. However, fluctuating grade school enrolment meant that long-term space for the preschool was not guaranteed, and significant retrofit costs would be required in order to meet operating requirements.
    • BHPS was advised that space could be set aside in the expanded Blackburn Community Centre. However, the expansion project remains in early conceptual phases and would not provide a solution prior to the end of the preschool’s lease.
    • BHPS explored purchasing its own land where a new facility could be built. Unfortunately, no local, suitably-zoned land was identified – and issues of availability aside, the combined expense of both the land and the building would be enormously expensive

    While these solutions proved unfeasible, another option remained. BHPS approached Just Food, a local farm cooperative, to explore whether the school could relocate to their property. Both organizations agreed that a partnership would be a good fit. For Just Food, a learning facility would support their educational mandate, and for BHPS, the location would provide an ideal setting, where farming and nature elements could be directly incorporated into the school's curriculum. The new proposed facility – named the Green's Creek Learning Centre – would be a shared-used, multipurpose educational facility, with space for current partners and the community.

    Recent Developments

    • After exploring a number of building solutions, the Committee selected a used modular structure as the best building solution, as it provides to be the most cost-effective, eco-friendly option.
    • To raise the startup funds required for the project, the Blackburn Hamlet Preschool Fund was launched. Through the assistance of the Community Foundation of Ottawa, the Fund allows for the collection and incubation of donations, and all donors will receive charitable receipts.
    • BHPS approached Just Food, a non-profit organization operating the Just Food Farm, to explore whether the school could relocate to their property.  Both organizations agreed that a partnership would be a good fit.  For Just Food, an educational centre would support their educational mandate, and for BHPS, the location would provide an ideal setting where farming and nature elements could be directly incorporated into the school's curriculum.  The new proposed facility - named the Green's Creek Learning Center - would be a shared-use, multipurpose educational centre, with space for current partners and the community.

    ·         As the Just Food farm is a lease-holder of NCC land, the NCC has been fully briefed through them on the project from inception to the current date, with initial feedback being positive. In September, the formal land use application was submitted, and the NCC is now conducting their review.

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