Umbrella Family History
Umbrella Family and Child Centres of Hamilton was formed as the result of a Hamilton Public School Board motion, just prior to incorporation in May, 1988, to ensure child care programs within schools operated at arms length from the Board of Education. Our first programs were located in secondary schools (Hill Park, Scott Park, Sir Winston Churchill), providing young parents with an opportunity to return to school while their children were being cared for in the same building. A curriculum link-up with the Family Studies department also provided secondary school students with an opportunity to learn more about child development and the important role of parenting.
When the provincial government mandated that all new elementary schools would be built with child care centres (1989 – 1991), the Umbrella was fortunate to open programs at Lincoln Alexander, Sir Wilfrid Laurier, Gordon Price and Helen Detwiler Schools.
By the mid-1990’s, the Umbrella began responding to the need for Before and After school programs in a variety of locations, offering children between the ages of 6 and 12 with a ‘seamless’ day: child care and education ‘under one roof’.
Thanks to construction agreements with the Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board, we were fortunate to open new facilities at Templemead (2003), Ray Lewis, Ancaster Meadow and Gatestone (2005) schools.
Announcements regarding ‘Best Start’ – a new provincial initiative aimed at enhancing services to young children and their families – resulted in further expansion, as the Umbrella was invited to partner with the Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board to provide child care programs in six additional schools in the east end of Hamilton.
Today, Umbrella offers toddler, preschool and extended day programs in 9 locations. Extended day programs are operated in another 18 locations.