by Dwayne Animikwan
WIIKWEMKOONG – In 1990, the Wiikwemkoong Hub Centre opened its doors in a brand new building and is now celebrating 30 years of servicing the childcare and early learning needs of Wiikwemkoong Unceded Territory.
The Wiikwemkoong Board of Education was mandated by chief and council to manage the educational programs in the spring of 1986. The Wiikwemkoong Nursery School program has been in existence since August of 1971 and under the administration of the then chief and council, was transferred to the Wikwemikong Board of Education umbrella in August of 1987.
Since COVID-19 restrictions are currently in place, the celebration involved putting together a display of items, pictures, toys and other memorabilia from the past 30 years for their staff and students to appreciate. The Wiikwemkoong Board of Education’s communications officer created a short YouTube video to commemorate the event as well.
Current program manager Sarah Assinewe said, “we started out as a nursery school, daycare program and a toy library resource centre. Over the years we have morphed into a pre-school and toddler program. Our current licence allows us to have 60 children. That would be 40 pre-school spots and 20 toddler spots. But right now, because of COVID, we are servicing 26 children, 16 pre-school children and 10 toddlers and we have pending applications for registration.”
COVID-19 has altered the way programs are delivered. “We implemented additional health and safety precautions,” Ms. Assinewe explained. “We have arranged drop off times for each child to limit lineups, health screening forms for all children, temperature checks of children and staff. We have also implemented enhanced cleaning and disinfecting. We removed all carpets and replaced it with flooring that is easy to clean and disinfect. We have also omitted from our programming our playground equipment. The children are still able to go outside but not allowed on any of the equipment”
The Wiikwemkoong Board of Education acknowledges all the people who have contributed to the Wiikwemkoong Hub Centre over the years including all past and present staff who taught the children and the administrators including Education Director Sara Peltier (Baa), Education Director Edward Fox, Education Director Dominic Beaudry and former program manager Rosemarie Trudeau (Baa).