Our Mission Statement
Marathon Children and Family Centre provides quality care and education in an environment where children learn through play. We strive to support families and caregivers in Marathon and the surrounding area.
Philosophy: The Reggio Emilia Approach
Marathon Children and Family Centre is inspired by the Reggio Emilia Principles within our programs. This approach embraces the belief that children are our teachers and we learn what they would like to investigate and explore further through their ideas, thoughts and representations. We work in collaboration with the children, their parents, caregivers and the community to expand on these topics of interest to further their knowledge. Our environment is set up for the children to explore open-ended materials, light, brining the outside in, creative art materials, science materials, technology and many more opportunities to help children reach their fullest potential.
Parents and caregivers are kept involved by daily communication and documentation boards in each room as well as in the entranceway. These boards contain many visual panels of photographs, artwork, words that the children are learning and much more.
On January 17, 1984, a committee of parents, mainly teachers, formed to discuss the need for child care in Marathon. After fundraising $750.00, the Marathon Day Care Program became incorporated on July 6, 1984. The doors were officially opened on April 1, 1985 in the basement of the St. John’s United Church. However, this location needed renovations to comply with licensing requirements. Later, it was decided that these renovations were not feasible and a move to a better location would be more appropriate.
Five months later, the licensed Child Care Program moved to the basement of the Parkland Pentecostal Church. The program encountered some challenges because the lease agreement stated that the program would run 6:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. from Monday to Friday. This meant all equipment had to be moved to storage every Friday and taken out again on Monday. The lease also did not include July and August, which meant an alternate location was needed during these months. One summer, we were fortunate enough to be able to use the Caroline McMorland classroom located in the Public School on Steven’s Avenue.
In 1988, the Holy Saviour School/Ecole Val des Bois, was in the process of building a new school which would have a child care centre attached to it. The operation of the facility was offered to the Marathon Day Care Program and an additional classroom was included for the school age children. The Marathon Day Care Program moved locations on July 1, 1989, though there were a few glitches. The light system, which consisted of chandeliers, needed to be changed and a washer and dryer had to be removed from the playroom as it was very impractical. The smoke detector in the kitchen was very sensitive and whenever muffins or toast were on the menu, the fire department would show up.
In September 1983, the Marathon Day Care Program underwent three wonderful changes. We launched the Family Resource Program, we integrated the licensed child care program and the toddler/preschool programs moved into Margaret Twomey Public School. The Resource Program shared the Holy Saviour/Ecole Val des Bois site with the school age program. The Resource Program was named the Children’s Den by the school age children.
In 1995, the Marathon Day Care Program became unionized under the Office Professional Employment International Union, now known as Canadian Office Professional Employees Union.
In 1997, the school age program was moved to the Margaret Twomey Public School site to save on costs, as there was an increasing deficit occurring each year. Paying expenses for 1.5 sites was not financially feasible.
In 2002, the Children’s Den became an Ontario Early Years satellite site, which later became known as a Hub.
A decision was made in September 2003 to have one supervisor oversee both centres. This decision was made in the best interest of both sites as it would cut costs, establish consistency and avoid duplications.
In 2003, we began following the Reggio Emilia Approach to encourage learning through following daily observations in order to build upon the interest of the children to help each child reach their fullest potential.
In the fall of 2004, we started the process of changing the name of our centres to Marathon Children and Family Centre. The intent was to make one common name for both centres. This became official in January 2005.
Ontario Early Years became known as Best Start and a grand opening was held on November 16, 2008.
On September 1, 2009 the Best Start program moved to Margaret Twomey Public School due to funding cuts in order to ensure sustainability of running all viable programs.
Marathon Children and Family Centre celebrated 25 years of service on June 4th, 2011. Staff volunteered their time to put on a BBQ with fun games including a fish pond, face painting, crafts and more for the children and their families. Everyone who had attended our centre over the past 25 years was invited. We reflected with pictures, videos and documentation spanning from the present time all the way back to our beginning.
In the fall of 2017, the Ministry of Education announced the launch of the new EarlyON Child and Family Centre branding. As of January 2018, our Best Start Program became known as the EarlyON Program.
The Director of Client Services, Thunder Bay District Social Services Administration Board came to visit our centre on May 25, 2017. We discussed the fact that we did not have the capacity to provide care to children under the age of 18 months, forcing families to seek home care. Once families have their younger ones established in care, they often do not move them again. In June, the Coordinator of Plant Services, Superior-Greenstone District School Board and architect of Evans Bertrand Hill Wheeler Architecture, stopped by the centre to discuss the dream of expanding our centre. Capital funding to address identified gaps resulted in the dream of starting an infant program becoming reality. On September 1, 2017, staff room renovations at Margaret Twomey Public School began as well as a new area to house the much needed Infant Program. We launched the Marathon Children and Family Centre’s Infant Program on December 4, 2017.