Day Nursery Centre History



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© 2008, Day Nursery Centre Inc.

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Anotated History

1909   The Mothers' Association established and opened the first day nursery at 303 Flora Avenue on March 12, 1909.
1911   Mothers' Association of Winnipeg incorporated under the Charitable Association Act R.S.M. 1962, By Letters Patents December 28/10
1912   Larger quarters were necessary, so the Nursery moved to 378 Stella Avenue.
1939 to 1944   Surveys were conducted re: the agency's service, reflecting a growing interest in raising standards in pre-school care.
1951   Corporate name change to the Mothers Association Day Nursery Centre.
1953   A "Self Study" was conducted as by request of the Board of Directors to the Welfare Council for assistance in studying the total program in the nursery. As a result of this study, a qualified staff was engaged and a nursery based on accepted minimum standards was set up and an integrated program of health, education and casework was planned.
1954   Corporate name changed to Day Nursery Centre by Supplementary letters, Patent, dated November 12, 1954.

1963   The first public financial support granted under the Social Allowance Act.

1965   Day Nursery Centre received assistance from the Department of Welfare, City of St. James in March, on the same basis as was received from the City of Winnipeg.

1968   Day Nursery Centre became eligible for financial assistance under the Canadian Assistance Plan in October.

1970   The third unit of Day Nursery Centre was opened in Trinity Parish Hall, 256 Smith Street in February. 

1972   The official opening of the new unit at 336 Flora Avenue was held on March 22, 1972. 

1973   A reception was given on October 15, 1973, by the Board of Directors and staff of Day Nursery Centre, for Mrs. Gretta H. Brown in honour of her twenty years of service as Executive Director. The building at 336 Flora Avenue was officially named, "GRETTA H. BROWN UNIT".

1976   Mrs. Gretta H. Brown retired on November 1, 1976 after 23 years of dedicated service.

1976   Day Nursery Centre phased into the Child Day Care Program, a division of the Department of Health and Social Development, Province of Manitoba. Parents make application for subsidy and pay the fee assessed them by the Provincial Government. 

1979   The Smith Street Unit moved in April to new premises at 355 Kennedy Street.

1984   A federally funded Core Area Initiative Program facilitated renovations to all three centres.

1987   Two rooms were added to the Kennedy Unit - a staff room and a library.

1990   The Province of Manitoba licenses for Early Childhood Educators are according to three classifications. The highest classification is ECE III (this represents a 4-year college degree, university degree, or Red River Community College diploma). As of August 1990, our staff is classified as follows: 13 ECE III, 8 ECE II, and 2 aides.

1993   The Broadway Unit relocates in August to the new "Crossways in Common" complex at the corner of Broadway Avenue and Furby Street. The Broadway Unit is renamed "Crossways".

1994   Infant Centre opens on August 2nd, 1994 at the Crossways Unit to care for eight children, ages 12 weeks to 2 years. 

1996   Day Nursery Centre adopts a mission statement: 

Day Nursery Centre is a child care facility which emphasizes individual growth for children by promoting a safe, healthy and caring learning environment through its dedication to the family and the community. 

1997 to 1998   Day Nursery Centre, Gretta Brown Unit was approached by Manitoba Child and Youth Secretariat to be a research site for the new "Early Start Project" which Health Canada will fund. The main activity of this Project is "Home Visiting".

1999 to 2000   Board and staff attended a Strategic Planning Session in February 2000. Organizational Review was completed. Gretta Brown received a new playground structure.

Kennedy receives an overall "facelift". Painting and replacement of flooring in the entire centre, as well as minor repairs, etc. were included in this overtaking by Manitoba Housing. Open House for the Kennedy Centre was held in October.

2000 to 2001   A Staff Retreat was held in Gimli, Manitoba on April 7th and 8th.

Gretta Brown Addition and Renovation Project is completed with a Grand Opening held in June 2001. 

Organizational changes within Day Nursery Centre took place as Board of Directors voted to pursue the Organization Structure Review in principle. The first step was to split the present Executive Director/Crossways Centre Director position as of June 1, 2001. 

2001 to 2002  New positions of Inclusion Specialist and Children's Service Manager are implemented.

In addition to the core skills expected of an ECE, the Early Childhood Inclusion Specialist coordinates provision of developmental services and programming for children with special needs at a Day Nursery Centre site.

The Children's Services Manager is responsible for the development , implementation, and evaluations of all children's programs operated by Day Nursery Centre.


2002 to 2003  After discontinuing the hot lunch program in June of 2002 due to lack of funds, the Young Hearts Eat Smart fund raising campaign reached out to the community and managed to reinstate the program. Community partners and funders such as Edward Carrier Salon, the Winnipeg Foundation, Carpathia Credit Union, The Manitoba Nutrition Council, and Mazon Canada all supported us to the extent that we could again offer the much-needed program to families by October.

A strategic planning session was held with Board and staff collaborating on five goals to work towards over the next few years.

Worker's Compensation funded a Health, Safety & Professional Development Program as a pilot project to help reduce personal injuries at work and home, and to enhance staff's overall personal wellness.

Emergent Curriculum was also implemented in January with the Children's Services Manager, now the Coordinator of Children's Programs, assisting staff through the transition.


2003 to 2004  The Workplace Health, Safety & Wellness program funded by the Worker’s Compensation Board of Manitoba was fully implemented and evaluated with positive outcomes and results for the employee of Day Nursery Centre.


The Winnipeg Foundation approved a third year of funding for the Coordinator of Children’s Programs position, which continues to make a positive impact on the children’s programming in the centre as well as a third and final year of funding for our Hot Lunch Program.


The Board of Directors reviewed, revised and approved many important issues this year.  These include; new job descriptions for Early Childhood Educators and Child Care Assistants, Personnel Policy and Procedure Manual and revisions to our Mission Statement, Goals and objectives to reflect our commitment of providing meaningful inclusion for all children in our centres.


A new Vision Statement was created:


Day Nursery Centre strives to be recognized as a leader and advocate in the Early Childhood Care and Education profession by:


1. Integrating the newest research in programming approaches that best suit the development of each child and his/her family.


2. Promoting current Professional Development and the Health, Safety and Wellness practices of its employees.


2004 to 2005   Funding for the Coordinator of Children’s Programs position ended December 31st, 2004.  Even though it was disappointing the project ended, this project was a success for Day Nursery Centre.  It allowed the opportunity for our employees to be trained, supported and mentored in developmentally appropriate programming, inclusion and evaluation of the centres.


A “PATH” session was held in February 2005 to strategize goals for the next two years for Day Nursery Centre.  Board, staff and parents participated in creating six goals.


Early Start programs merged with Babies First programs throughout the province on April 1st, 2005.  The newly formed program is called “Families First.”  It is being funded by Healthy Child Manitoba and the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority and is no longer housed out of child care facilities.


The Federal Government made a commitment to establish a National Early Learning and Child Care Program.  Manitoba was the first province to sign the bi-lateral agreement on Early Learning and Child Care with the Federal Government.


The Worker’s Compensation Board of Manitoba approved a grant for a second phase to Day Nursery Centre’s Workplace Health, Safety and Wellness program.  This new project will build on the successful activities and findings from our first project and will allow us to further investigate and share our findings with others in the field of Early Childhood Education.

2005 to 2006  Day Nursery Centre’s commitment to inclusion and diversity is strengthened by approving a new Inclusion Statement which reads:


“All Children are entitled to full participation and support to meet their individual needs.  At Day Nursery Centre, we believe that all children have the right to be valued, accepted and included.  We embrace inclusion and celebrate the diversity in our community such as culture, language, religion, socio-economic status and ability.  Being an inclusive centre in which all children and families are welcome offers countless learning opportunities and benefits for everyone.”


The newly elected Conservative government in January 2006 announces its child care plan, which cancels the bi-lateral agreement on Early Learning and Child Care as of April 1, 2007.  There is a great deal of concern expressed from child care community and advocates, as to the uncertainty of funding and commitments made by the previous government.


Work continues on Day Nursery Centre’s Workplace Health, Safety and Wellness program -Phase II.  A third project is approved by Workers Compensation Board, Community Initiatives program, Day Nursery Centre’s Workplace Heath, Safety and Wellness Program- from ideas to results.  This project produced a 15 minute DVD which summarized our findings and works with our first two projects.  It is also intended to be used by others in our field as a training tool and a provocation for others to implement their own Workplace Health, Safety and Wellness program.  “A Guide to Workplace Health Safety and Wellness“ premiered at the Annual General Meeting held at the Ellice Street Café and Theatre on June 23rd.


Day Nursery Centre’s 100th Anniversary Committee is formed.  A few meetings are held in preparation of the upcoming 100th AGM in 2008 and anniversary in 2009.


The Manitoba Child Care Program grants Day Nursery Centre a one time grant of $25,000.  This grant allows us to continue the Hot Lunch program for the children until at least the end of March 31, 2007.


2006 to 2007  Day Nursery Centres Workplace health Safety and Wellness project continues to have a positive impact on Day Nursery Centre and the community, as the video “A guide to Workplace Health Safety and wellness is shared with the community. The committee provided a workshop at the Manitoba Child Care Association Conference, “Avoiding Pain and Strain in an Early Childhood Environment”


A reward and recognition survey is given to staff, to help identify, what staff would find helpful and meaningful in this area. As a result a Reward and Recognition Committee is formed.


The Early Learning and Child Care Capital Fund Program grant provides funding for the Crossways site to replace flooring, children’s bathroom vanities, sinks and facets, as well as partial funding for Gretta Browns furnaces and flooring.


The Kiwanis Club of Winnipeg supports Day Nursery Centre with a grant to purchase toys and equipment.


The Manitoba Child Care program implements a requirement that all CCA’s employed in a centre for more than a year must complete a 40 hour Early Childhood Education course through a Manitoba College. Many Day Nursery Centre CCA’s take a course and successfully complete them.


The provincial government announced in April that there would be an overall 2% increase to unit funding as well as announcing, a 13% adjustment to subsidy levels was made, so low and middle income families will be eligible for subsidy. In addition, a 40 cent reduction to the $2.40 non-subsidized daily fee for subsidized families was implemented. This brought the fee for subsidized families down to $2 per day.


2008 to 2009  The 100th Anniversary Committee of Day Nursery Centre, was busy this past year planning and implementing, anniversary events. Some of their activities included;


Building a float and participating in the Power Smart/Winnipeg Jaycees Santa Clause parade on November 15/08.


Holding birthday party celebrations on March 12/09 in all three centres. This was the date 100 years ago that the first centre opened at 303 Flora Ave. The Gretta Brown unit held a birthday breakfast and both Crossways and Kennedy had afternoon birthday parties where both families and community members attended.


A Mothers Day tea, “Tea over time” was held on May 9/09 to commemorate the Mothers Association of Winnipeg, founders of Day Nursery Centre. This well attended event, included tea fare, such as fancy sandwiches, dainties and tea, historical displays, Entertainment throughout the afternoon as well as a silent auction table.


Day Nursery Centre continued to support staff in their professional development-, Opportunities such as the Directors conference, The Manitoba Child Care conference, the Reggio Emilia Inspired conference amongst various other workshops, and courses were attended by staff. In-house workshops included Children and Sexuality and staff/board retreat at Pinewood Lodge in Dorothy Lake. 


A working alone/isolation policy, a child sexuality/gender policy, and a new salary scale, were approved by the board of directors. 


2009-2010  Day Nursery Centre’s 100th year of service to the community ended with a Community BBQ held outdoors at the Gretta Brown Unit on September 12, 2009. Generous donations were provided by local community organizations and food, fun and entertainment was provided for all. A fitting way to end our anniversary year was having our staff/board holiday party at Ralph Conner House in West Gate, the childhood home of Gretta Brown, who was a pioneer of child care in Manitoba and Executive Director of Day Nursery Centre from 1953-1976.


The Hot Lunch Program continued during this period with a small amount of 50 cents a day per child being charged to parents starting September 2009, to help sustain this important program. 


A Pandemic Plan, Inclusion Policy, Code of Conduct, Use of Electronic Equipment Policy and Locked Door Policy were all created to assist with providing high quality child care and ensuring safety.


Individualized Enhanced Safety Plans for each site of Day Nursery Centre, which outlines plans and procedures for staff to follow in the event of emergencies from fire, to threatening behaviours, to tornados were created and revised. This task was taken on by our Workplace Health, Safety and Wellness Committee and the Management Team.


2010-2011 The centres were fortunate to receive funding from the community for projects which included a Natural Playground Enhancement for Gretta Brown and video monitors for greater security monitoring for all three centres.    


A  Preschool Curriculum Statement was created to accurately reflect what happens in our programs and our core values.  .  Staff incorporated more nature-inspired programing with the children and Day Nursery Centre also took steps to become more environmentally-conscious.   


2011-2012 One of our key highlights this year was bringing Day Nursery Centre Kid Gloves Unit Inc. into the Day Nursery Centre family.  We were approached by the board of Kid Gloves Day Care Inc., located in Western Glove Works, to consider taking over the operations of this worksite program.  Western Glove Works had changes in their operations through the years and there was no longer a great need for child care for their employees.  Therefore, they felt it best that the centre become a community-based program operated by a community organization.   Day Nursery Centre’s Board of Directors looked at this as an opportunity to assist the families in this centre and in the community, which is also in close proximity of our other three sites.    The decision was made that Day Nursery Centre Kid Gloves Unit would become Day Nursery Centre’s fourth program as of April 1, 2012. 


The Centre received a new name, license, occupancy permit and Enhanced Safety Plan, amongst other things, and began operating within Day Nursery Centre’s policies and Board of Directors.  We worked with the staff of the centre to maintain the centre’s individuality and its important values, as well as worked to create consistencies between the units of Day Nursery Centre.  


2012-2013 One of our major projects, which provided us triumphs as well as challenges, was to pursue our dream and long-term goal of expanding and renovating our Kennedy Unit.  Construction began in the summer of 2013.  


The staff of DNC continued to pursue lifelong learning and attend PD opportunities such as the Manitoba Nature Summit, MCCA’s Annual Conference, Day Nursery Centre’s in-house workshops and retreat. 



2013-2014 After considerable planning, collaboration and funding support from Community funders, the Kennedy Unit renovation and expansion project became a reality.


During the time of construction, the children and families from the Kennedy Centre were re-located to the gyms in the Gretta Brown and Crossways Units from May 2013 to January 20, 2014.  A celebration and grand re-opening was held on June 5, 2014.


The centres took part in a Forest School Pilot Project with Fort Whyte Alive.  The vision of this project builds the international movement of “leave no child inside”. The children and staff travelled to Fort Whyte Alive monthly to take part in the project which helped develop positive relations between the children and the natural world. 


The Kid Gloves Unit underwent a playground and kitchen renovation. The kitchen renovation allowed us to implement a hot lunch program in the centre in October 2013.


An Infant Curriculum statement was developed for infant programs at the Kennedy and Crossways Unit.



2014-2015 The Crossways Unit underwent a playground transformation. A nature playground was created with a hill, slide, garden, sandpit, stepping logs, boulders and a play house. 

The Kennedy Unit formed a partnership with Essential Skills Manitoba and Manitoba Early Learning and Child Care by providing eight child care spaces for parents who are training and preparing to return to work. 

The Kid Gloves Unit installed new cabinets for food storage and children’s sink in one of their play areas.   

Lifelong learning is highly valued at Day Nursery Centre. On October 4, 2014, for the first time in DNC history, our board of directors allowed our programs to close at noon, in order for our staff to be able to participate in learning together, without giving up their own personal time.    

We continued work on aligning our centres with our green mission statement and connecting children to nature.  Educators worked on ways to include nature in all parts of programing, as well as participating in the Connecting Children to Nature program funded by The Winnipeg Foundation.

2015-2016 In May 2015, the Gretta Brown Unit experienced a leak which turned into a larger issue as asbestos was found in some of the materials that had to be removed.   In order for the remedial work to be done safely, the centre was closed and the children were relocated for two and a half months.   Sixteen children were relocated to the Crossways Unit gym, twenty four to the RB Russell Infant Program (which was vacated for the summer) and some relocated to the Kennedy and Kid Gloves Units.   


Kitchen renovations took place at the Gretta Brown and Crossways Units with funding support from private donations, The Winnipeg Foundation and the Community Places Program. 


The educators ensured that the children’s learning was more visible by changing the way that communicating some information with our families and board members happens.  Learning Stories are now used for some of this communication.   


Board members developed a policy to close the centres two days a year at noon in order for educators from all centres to participate in Professional Development.  This allows educators to continue on their pedagogical journey while they learn alongside their colleagues and the children, and reflect on the program and experiences they provide.


The full unification of Day Nursery Centre Kid Gloves Unit Inc. with Day Nursery Centre Inc. took place on April 1, 2016.  DNC now operates four child programs with one business and charity number and one Board of Directors.  


Core values were created, after a process of collaboration between staff and board members.  Day Nursery Centre values are:  Beauty, Growth and Development, Happiness, Inclusiveness, Relationships and Wellness.