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Umbrella Updates – September 2023

September 29th, 2023Umbrella News

Umbrella Updates Family Newsletter
September 2023

Hello Umbrella parents/guardians! We hope you are having a great start to the school year. This Family Newsletter outlines important updates from the Umbrella Leadership Team. We are excited to introduce ourselves to you and we look forward to keeping you updated on all things Umbrella.

If you have any further questions please email

Operations Team Updates

Our Finance Department has updated its policies and procedures as it relates to billings and account payments.  The most significant difference is that we are now a ‘cash free’ organization.  Account payments must be made electronically using PAP.  We recognize that this may not be preferable to some families, but in an effort to become more efficient and reduce errors we have made these changes effective September 22, 2023.  We want to thank everyone for their support and patience as we have implemented these changes. Please ensure that you have signed the updated Fee Policy Form and returned it to your site Supervisor.

The Marketing & Communications Team is excited to share our new Communication Standards. This document can be referenced to answer any questions about how/when you will be updated on closures, registrations, etc. See the new Communications Standards here.

The Human Resources Team is busy hiring for vacancies at several of our Umbrella locations. Great people, know great people! Is someone you know considering a career in child care?  The Umbrella offers a warm and supportive work environment, a top tier approach to onboarding new employees, and plenty of opportunities to learn and use new skills. Please see/share our current job postings here.

Meet the Umbrella Operations Leadership Team
+ their favourite summer activity

Programs Team Updates

Introducing Umbrella’s Program Excellence Team

Some of you may have met our Program Excellence (PE) Team. We like to think of the PE Team as Umbrella’s internal support system, supporting our educators, families and children. The focus of our PE Team is to support our programs in ensuring a high-quality child care experience. Each of our team members has a different specialty to support our teams.

Meet Jennifer Allen: Manager of the Program Excellence Team

Jen is a Registered Early Childhood Educator with more than 15 years experience working with children and youth. She also holds a Master’s degree in education where she focused on issues of quality in Ontario’s child care sector through a diversity, equity, and inclusion lens. Jen previously worked at the Municipal level overseeing quality and community development initiatives and is passionate about supporting high-quality child care through a coaching and mentorship approach. Jen oversees our PE Team, and leads our diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives.

Jen visits our programs regularly and is our main contact for our partnerships with ASCY/Lynwood and Community Living Hamilton. Jen establishes a coaching and mentoring relationship with Supervisors and educators in supporting children with diverse needs and abilities.

Meet Jenny Redmond: Pedagogy and Program Specialist

Jenny is a Registered Early Childhood Educator with more than 25 years in the childcare sector. Jenny also holds a bachelor’s degree in applied science, focusing on child development. For the last 13 years, Jenny has worked with the School Board, where she has been part of a leadership program that supports RECE within the classrooms to ensure quality learning. Jenny continues her work with Umbrella Family as the Pedagogy and Program Specialist where she is a familiar face on her weekly visits to our centres. She continues to work alongside our educators and Supervisors to provide quality programming, resources, and support.

Meet Ashley Codispodi: Ministry and Licensing Specialist

Ashley is a RECE with over 10 years experience in the child care field. With a focus on operations, licensing and multi-site support, Ashley is passionate about setting quality standards for the Early Years Sector. Ashley supports Licensing visits for renewal, monitoring inspections, or serious occurrences, in addition to reviewing the Ministry and Licensing Checklist with the Program Supervisors and Program Leaders to ensure compliance with the CCEYA. Ashley is also supporting the organization in leading the Cook’s Network with revising our Food and Nutritional guidelines as well as our Menus, to meet the requirements of the Ministry.

In the coming weeks the Programs Team will be sending updates via email and on Story Park regarding enrollment for March Break.

Meet the Umbrella Programs Leadership Team
+ their favourite summer activity

CEO Updates

Welcome to fall! As staff, children, and families return to a beautiful fall season, we welcome you with warmest wishes.  As always, the Umbrella Team is actively creating welcoming environments and great programming.  A reflection of this commitment is recognized through the Hamilton Spectator’s Readers Choice Diamond Award for best childcare!

Our commitment to Equity, Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging (EDIB):

Since joining the Umbrella over 4 years ago, I have seen our organization embrace the principles of EDIB in an effort to ensure our programs and organization are for everyone. Our staff live our values everyday and we are proud and grateful.  The Umbrella is working with the City of Hamilton on a new leadership training/professional development initiative that will be launched this fall. There is lots we still have to learn, and we will walk this path together.

Province wide staffing shortage:

Unfortunately, the issue of staffing shortages continues to impact childcare organizations.  Parents were hopeful that with the announcement of the Canada Wide Early Learning and Childcare Agreement (CWELCC) that access to affordable, quality childcare would be more available. Many childcare operators are struggling to keep up with demand and waitlists are growing.  One way this issue could be addressed is if the province would fund staff wages that recognize the importance of childcare staff.  We know our staff are worth more, and are advocating for adequate wages for our team.

+ Darryl’s favourite summer activity

Thank you for reading your Umbrella Updates and learning a little bit more about the team! We are looking forward to another great year at Umbrella. As always, if you have any questions you can chat with your centre Supervisor or contact the Leadership Team at

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Umbrella Family and Child Centres of Hamilton - Serving Hamlton for over 30 years

1550 Upper James St Unit # 302
Hamilton, Ontario L9B 2L6

(905) 312-9836

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