South Shore Breaker Article: Fundraising Effort Underway for Small World Learning Centre
The South Shore Breaker recently covered our ground-breaking ceremony for our “Under One Roof” Expansion Project. The text of the article is reproduced below, or you can read it on The Breaker’s site:
“We have a problem,” says Donna Stapleton to the group of three and four-year-olds sitting on the floor in front of her. “We need to make Small World Learning Centre bigger.”
The preschoolers listen earnestly as Donna, the executive director, explains to them that, currently, Small World operates out of two different locations — the building they are sitting in right now, on York Street in Bridgewater, especially designed to house a childcare facility, and a temporary home at the Holy Trinity Anglican Church Hall on Alexandra Avenue. They had to relocate there this past winter from the St. Joseph’s Catholic Church Hall, where they’d been for the last 36 years.
“We are very grateful to the folks at Holy Trinity for welcoming us so warmly when we lost our space at St. Josephs,” says Donna. “But this is only licensed as a temporary location and we really need to operate out of one central location.”
Soon, the kids on the floor in front of Donna are enthusiastically offering ideas on how to expand the York Street Centre so that all the children in the program can be “under one roof,” as she puts it.
“We need to add more classrooms to this building!” says one little boy in a serious voice. A tiny girl gets a pencil and a piece of paper and starts drawing up a plan.
“But first we need a foundation!” says another little boy. And then the entire group gets involved, talking excitedly about building things.
Children who attend Small World Learning Centre are used to building things — and to problem-solving together with their teachers. Activities at the school grow naturally out of the children and teachers’ own interests and everyday experiences. This is a key aspect of the Reggio Emilia Approach to early childhood education, which has been developed over the last 60 years and is widely considered to be the best in the world. Although the co-founders of Google first met when they were young children in Montessori school, for instance, their own childcare centre at Google headquarters now uses Reggio-inspired methods. Small World Learning Centre is the only childcare facility in Lunenburg County that follows this same philosophy, under Donna’s guidance, who has herself completed a study tour of Reggio Emilia in Italy.
Because this philosophy also stresses a strong connection to nature, beauty, and art, the school’s physical space is, in a way, an extension of the curriculum. The staff takes care to make the space as attractive and as comfortable as they can — along with the help of their many young artists. Visitors to York Street are struck by how bright and beautiful the facility is, the use of natural materials, and all the art on display. And, says Donna, they always comment on the amazing outdoor play area that borders on the woods behind the Lunenburg County Lifestyle Centre, which is a short trail walk away.
But a state-of-the-art facility doesn’t come cheap. Because Small World is committed to keeping its fees comparable of those at other childcare facilities in the county, “We need to do some serious fundraising,” says Donna. “This planned expansion, which will almost double the size of our current building, is going to cost $350,000. So our goal right now is to raise as much as possible to offset the $280,000 that we have to mortgage. We’re hoping to complete the expansion in the next six months.”
Donna is also quick to thank the various individuals, groups, and businesses that have already donated to this project. She says the Bridgewater Development Association reduced the cost of the land by $1,000. Alex and Hala Jebailey, owners of Charlie’s Pizza, paid |$700 for the blueprints. Able Land Surveying donated the survey, which cost $1400. The John & Judy Bragg Foundation gave $500 to the project. Silver & Taylor Barristers gave $600. The Halifax Youth Foundation gave $3,00o. Nova Scotia Communities, Culture & Heritage awarded a $16,000 grant.
The Government of Canada Enabling Accessibility also gave a grant of $15,570. Efficiency Nova Scotia gave a $1000 grant for a scoping study and a $12,145 grant towards energy upgrades. Leon deVreede and the Community Energy Cooperative donated time to develop an Energy Assessment Report, a $6,500 value. Mark’s Plumbing & Heating are donating $1892 in labour. And community volunteers have installed a safety fence for construction, cleared the land, removed and will re-install chain link fence, and committed to painting the finished addition.
Like at all non-profit organizations in Lunenburg County, supporters of Small World are constantly looking for ways to bring in extra income. “We’ve had bake sales and hosted pancake breakfasts and spaghetti dinners at restaurants here in town,” says Donna. “We have an annual online Facebook Auction and we’ll continue to do these things whenever we can. But this is another level of fundraising entirely and we’re really asking the community for their support. We hope that you consider investing in our future generation!”
One of the children tugs at Donna’s arm. “We need to get some wood!” he says. There is a brief discussion about whether it’d be okay to cut down some trees in the backyard for that purpose and the general consensus is that it might be better to buy the wood at the hardware store.
“But for that we’ll need…?” prompts Donna.
“Money!” shouts one little girl. And that leads to a discussion about the contents of the group’s piggy banks.
Piggy banks aside, Donna says Small World’s fundraising efforts will focus mainly online. She says you can visit their website at smallworldbridgewater.com, donate through CanadaHelps.org at http://herald.ca/NbE or send an Interac e-transfer to firstname.lastname@example.org in order to contribute. As a charitable organization, Small World can give income tax receipts for cash donations.