Resources abound for new parents as Lambton College ECE grad discovers

Lisa Teft wonders how she ever managed without her resource centre.

As an early childhood educator at the Sarnia YMCA St. Joseph’s Child Care, Teft works with babies between two and 18 months of age daily.

She loves the cuddles, snuggles and smiles that come with the job, yet there is also the challenge of finding resources and new ideas to support her little ones.

So when the County of Lambton funded the Best Start Parent and Professional Resource Centre (PPRC) a couple of years ago out of the North Building at Lambton College, it seemed like a godsend, she says.

“This is a fantastic resource,” says Teft, surrounded by cabinets full of paper, craft supplies and resource materials inside Room C10 at the centre.

It is open to parents, students and child care professionals, providing resources, materials, books and numerous services that help enhance early learning strategies for children.

The PPRC offers lamination services, craft supplies like felt, foam, paper, glue, glitter, tape, ribbon, stamps, dyes and more.

There are also professional development opportunities, including resource nights, and other workshops that focus on specific Best Start child care training.

“I love the professional development aspect,” says Teft, who is a regular at the centre most Tuesday and Thursday evenings.

The centre offers accommodating hours that allow people like Teft whose workday doesn’t end until the evening hours to still take advantage of its services.

Teft, who graduated from Lambton College’s Early Childhood Education (ECE) program in 2006, says the centre has allowed her to reconnect with old classmates and provides an opportunity for people in the field to share ideas.

“Before this existed there was not a lot of professional development opportunities,” Teft says.

And everything is free.

“There are so many times when you’re looking for ideas and to be able to go to a place and say I’m burned out and I need ideas and talk with other professionals is so amazing.”

She says the lamination services have saved her countless hours’ worth of work.

Teft says she is able to create booklets called ‘Baby Tales’ for each of the babies in her program that track their milestone moments. The booklets come with photos and graphics and have been well-received by many a teary-eyed parent, she says.

“If it wasn’t for this place this would be way too expensive for me.”

Since opening in the spring of 2009, PPRC Coordinator Kim Jackson says the centre has focused most on providing materials, a resource library and professional development workshops.

“A lot of what we offer is based on feedback from our community partners and I take that feedback seriously,” she says.

In the past year the centre had 1,740 registered members, more than 3,400 visits, offered 50 workshops, added 75 new resource books and provided more than 58,500 feet of free laminating.

Jackson says part of the centre’s mandate is to offer services, such as on-site PD or training opportunities, to child care centres, or community partners that work with Children, if requested.

This includes ongoing partnerships with Pathways, Aamjiwnaang  and other child care centres.

It also provides support for students in a number of programs, including ECE, Child and Youth Worker, Nursing, Personal Support Worker, Autism and Behavioural Science, among others.

The centre is also attracting college staff, Jackson says.

But it’s still one of the best kept secrets among parents, albeit unintentional.

“My goal is to get more parents coming to the resource centre.”

Photo: Lisa Teft, left, with Kim Jackson of the Best Start Parent and Professional Resource Centre.

Get the Lambton Shield Daily Brief in your inbox:

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.