West End Parents’ Daycare has a long history in this community.
WEPD began as a grassroots operation when a group of mothers at the West End YMCA, led by Natalina Furfaro, applied for a grant to start a summer day camp program.
1973 — In the third year, when the funding was in jeopardy, the mothers who worked in the program took a bus to Ottawa with 22 children in tow. They set up a daycare in the lobby of Parliament and got the funding!
1975 — The Centre was officially incorporated though still operated out of the YMCA.
1981 — Needing more space, they moved into Ossington/Old Orchard Public School, and then when the daycare continued to grow, moved across the park to our present location, which was at that time an annex to the school. We are now separate from the school, although the daycare still leases the building itself from the Toronto District School Board.
WEPD was a special daycare from the start.
It was run by an idealistic and committed staff who worked co-operatively to create a warm and stimulating environment for the children – an approach that continues to this day.
In the early days, the Centre was known as the “hippie daycare”. Many of the staff had children at the daycare, and some of them later worked there themselves. Natalina’s daughter Anna worked as a daycare teacher at WEPD for several years and now teaches across the field at Ossington/Old Orchard Public School.
1985 — New by-laws were adopted and the position of director was created. Parents also took on more responsibility. The staff has been unionized since the early ’80s. The Board of Directors strives to exceed formal and informal guidelines from the provincial Ministry of Education. Our Board consists of parents whose children attend the daycare. The Board and staff are committed to providing unique, quality childcare services in the City of Toronto.
Meals are prepared fresh daily at the daycare by our kitchen staff and are designed to incorporate a wide variety of tastes and textures and to reflect our wonderful, culturally diverse neighbourhood. Our recipes were developed with a whole-foods-based diet in mind, using low-sugar, low-sodium, whole-grain, non-GMO, locally sourced and organic ingredients whenever possible.
Our menu was designed by Suzanne Kleiman, a chef, nutritionist and Certified Nutrition Manager (CNM) with more than 15 years’ experience and specialized training in meal planning and nutrition education for special populations (infants, children, seniors, and those with special health issues.)
If your child has food restrictions due to allergies, medical conditions, or personal observances, please inform the centre and we will be pleased to accommodate them. WEPD does not allow any peanuts or nut products on the premises.
WEPD encourages an open-door policy. Families are welcome at all times. We practice open communication. We share information with families through daily observations, family events, and regular email newsletters.
We are committed to delivering flexible, affordable, high-quality childcare that is progressive and responsive to the changing needs of our families. We believe this gives parents peace of mind while their children are in our care.
Rest & Play
We are situated on a unique, wooded lot, with great play equipment and wonderful grounds to explore. There is even an organic garden maintained by the children and neighbours. The front playground has two play-structures: one for toddlers (built in 2000) and one for preschool and kindergarten-age children (built in 2002). The back of the daycare extends into the nature playground and school-age play equipment structures of Ossington/Old Orchard Public School.
As per the Child Care and Early Years Act, children are offered two hours of outdoor play per day. The Toddler and Preschool programs give children an opportunity to rest for up to two hours each day. Those who are awake are provided with quiet activities during the rest period.