BHPS update

We’re writing to provide an update on the status of our relocation project, and to update you on the future of the preschool.

As we’ve communicated in the past, the lease for the Blackburn Hamlet Preschool ends on June 30, 2017. The city has issued its third and final notice, and there will be no additional extensions. While BHPS’s board and the members of its location committee have worked extremely hard over the past eighteen months to secure a future for the school, we regret to inform our members and our supporters that after the end of this school year, Blackburn Hamlet Preschool will cease operations. Please note that programming for the remainder of our current school year will not be impacted.

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Blackburn Hamlet Preschool Christmas Auction

We are hosting this silent auction in order to raise funds to help build our school's new home, the Green's Creek Learning Centre.

All items have been graciously donated by our parents, friends, grandparents and community.

All proceeds will go directly into the school's new location.

Winning bidders will be contacted to arrange pick-up or delivery in the east end of Ottawa.

the auction can be found here:

https://www.32auctions.com/bhps

Happy shopping!

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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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Spaghetti Dinner Fundraiser

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Next Saturday night, leave the cooking and the dishes to us!

Please join us for a spaghetti dinner and help support Blackburn Hamlet Preschool. This family-friendly dinner will be a chance for parents and children alike to relax and and have fun while connecting with friends and neighbours.

All proceeds from this fundraising dinner will go toward our new location. 

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Capital Campaign to Support Relocation Launched

Earlier this week, we sent out a communication to update friends and supporters about the future plans for Blackburn Hamlet Preschool. As discussed, BHPS has partnered with Just Food to create an environmentally conscious shared-use facility which will provide a home for the preschool, space for Just Food, and space for future community collaborators. Once completed, this project will ensure a very strong future for BHPS.

We would never have come this far without the tremendous support we’ve received from this community. Just a year ago when it seemed like BHPS might close for good, there was a groundswell of support from alumni families and the community at large. We would especially like to single out and thank the Blackburn Hamlet Community Association for providing invaluable guidance and help. The BCA has been a strong supporter and promoter of our school – especially during this past challenging year. We are indebted and incredibly grateful.

To every single person who has stood behind the school: thank you. And now, we’re asking you to channel that strong support into fundraising. The portable facility we’ve identify is in excellent condition, and it’s extremely well suited to our purposes. To move this project forward, we’re pursuing financing through the Community Forward Fund, which will allow us to purchase and transport the facility to the new site. But financing can’t pay for the project in its entirety. To get this project underway we’ll need to raise enough money for a down payment, and we’ll need additional funds for expenses related to the move and redesign of the facility. The immediate goal of our campaign is to raise $75,000. Between the surplus funds available from school operations and money donated personally by members of the board, we’ve already raised $12,500 prior to the official campaign launch – but we need your help to go further.

In order to encourage donations and promptly recognize your generosity, we’ve established the Blackburn Hamlet Preschool Fund, a flow-through fund within the Community Foundation of Ottawa. The purpose is to collect and incubate donations made to the school, and it allows us to receipt any donations made while BHPS converts to a charitable organization over the coming months. To donate, visit the fundraising portal at the Community Foundation of Ottawa’s website. Search for “Blackburn Hamlet Preschool Fund.” From there, you’ll find easy to follow instructions on how to donate. Alternately, if your workplace has a United Way campaign, you can direct donations to the preschool that way. For further information on donating through either of these venues, please visit the fundraising section of our website.

Early in October, we’ll be holding a meeting at the community hall to provide further detail on the project, our other fundraising efforts, and the future of the school. We will confirm and announce the date soon. If you have any questions or feedback about this project in the meantime, please contact us at capitalcampaign@bhps.ca.

Thank you,

The BHPS Board

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Relocation Update

After a summer of work and planning, we’d like to provide an update to BHPS’s supporters and the community at large on the current status of the school’s relocation. We’ve made a great deal of progress since our last formal update, and we’re excited to share both where we are and where we’ll soon be.

 

In the fall of 2017, Blackburn Hamlet Preschool will move its operations to a new facility on Tauvette Drive. Together with our partner, Just Food, we are creating an environmentally conscious shared-use facility that will provide a permanent home for the preschool, space for Just Food activities, and indoor space available to the community at large. Just Food has been an invaluable partner in this project, and we would not have a long-term solution without their generosity and community-mindedness. As a building solution, we’ve selected a used modular structure. The unit is currently located nearby in town. Having just come off a three year lease, it’s in excellent condition, and at 8,600 square feet, it provides ample space for both of the project’s partners and for future community collaborators.

 

What began as a challenge for BHPS has really become an opportunity. Moving our operations to a shared space will provide larger classrooms and access to a commercial kitchen. As a result of both changes, we can further expand on the services we currently offer. Once the new facility opens, we’ll be providing both half and full day educational services - helping to meet the need in our community for full day care. And our operations will run concurrent with other adult and children's programming, as well as other community activities during evenings and weekends.

 

As you can imagine, this project will require a significant financial investment, and we’ve taken steps to begin raising the money that we need. First, through the Community Foundation of Ottawa we have created the Blackburn Hamlet Preschool Fund. The fund will be used to collect and incubate donations – and also allows us to provide our donors with charitable receipts. We are in the initial steps of securing a loan from the Community Forward Fund, which would provide us with immediate capital while some of our longer term fundraising measures build. We’re also applying to numerous grants at both the provincial and municipal level, many of which are particularly strong fit with a project like ours. Lastly, we’ve begun redirecting some of the school’s estimated budgetary surplus toward the project. Ultimately, this project will be funded by a combination of many sources.

 

Last week, we provided a project status update to Councillor Mitic and his staff, and the presentation was very well received.  Councillor Mitic expressed strong enthusiasm for the plan ahead, and he offered his full support to the project. We are grateful for his ongoing assistance. It was Councillor Mitic’s work that secured our lease extension last year, and without his influence we would not have been able ensure the school’s continued operations.

 

Next month, we’ll be presenting a full, formal update to the community. We’ll provide a more detailed update on the status of the project, we’ll discuss the future plans for the school, and we’ll welcome any questions that the community may have.

 

We would like to thank everyone for the strong support that BHPS has received to date, especially throughout the past year. We’ve been a proud part of the community for over forty years, and we’re working hard to ensure there are just as many years ahead. Over the coming days we’ll be officially launching our public fundraising campaign. We’ll be reaching out again soon.

Thank you,
The BHPS Board

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First Aid Training - Oct 29 / 30 - Spots Still Available

Blackburn Hamlet Preschool is pleased to offer training in Standard First Aid and CPR level C at a reduced rate of $70/person to the families registered in the program. The offer is now extended to the community to fill the last few spots that are still available.

REGISTER NOW to secure a spot using this form.

Date: Saturday Oct. 29th - Sunday Oct. 30th

Time: 8:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.

Location: Blackburn Hamlet Preschool -

202 Glen Park Drive

Tel: 613-824- 3251

Training Fee: $70 per person

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Welcome Back to School!

A warm welcome to new and returning families for the 2016-2017 school year!  We are looking forward to a fun and successful year with all of our students.

Newsletter

Please read our September Newsletter for details on what's going on at the preschool.

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SEP10 -- BBQ Fundraiser - The Brick Tent Sale

Blackburn Hamlet Preschool is excited to be hosting a barbeque this Saturday, September 10th, at the Brick Cyrville. All proceeds from the barbeque will go directly to the preschool!

Please stop by for a bite to eat and say hello, and check out the great sales too! Huge thanks to The Brick for this awesome fundraising opportunity.

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Register for Summer Camp at BHPS

Register for Summer Camp at the Preschool! Week-long camps for 3-5 year olds will be offered for 5 different weeks this summer. Here are the themes:

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