Ontario early years’ centres—now called EarlyON centres—are an amazing, government-funded resource for parents, caregivers and young children. At these facilities, families and children 6 years old and younger can play and learn together, with activities and programs that help kids develop physical, emotional, social, and early literacy skills.
Programs at early years’ centres are free and include programs surrounding early learning and literacy, pregnancy and parenting, and outreach activities.
At an EarlyON, you can talk to professional ECEs, connect with other caregivers, and learn how to find a paediatrician or prepare your child for school, among many other services.
Here are some locations throughout the GTA that offer a variety of programs and services for families with young children.
Toronto West End Centres
College Montrose Children’s Place manages the OEYC in the Trinity-Spadina area, offering a friendly atmosphere so both children and adults make friends as they play and learn, and feel connected to the community. Drop-in programs include Infant Rattle and Ring Circle, Toddler Rhyme and Song Circle, and Cooking with Kids.
Parents and kids can also pre-register for School Readiness Program and Mat Chats – informal but informative discussions about various parenting topics. In the summer, programming also includes trips to local parks.
180 Shaw St., Toronto
Macaulay’s OEYCs offer programs in various neighbourhood centres in West Toronto. Their “learn through play” and early literacy programs, drop-ins, and parenting groups are especially inclusive, providing specialized support for children in need.
Through special-needs services, Macaulay works with parents and children to minimize the long-term impact of special developmental, learning or behavioural needs. Macaluay supports vulnerable children to help them overcome barriers such as poverty and newcomer status, to ensure that all children can fully participate in community programs.
2010 Eglinton Ave. W., Suite 400, Toronto
Toronto East End Centres
East York/East Toronto Family Resources runs two OEYCs that serve East Toronto, with parenting programs, parent and child early learning activities, school readiness, nutrition programs, and more.
Daytime and evening drop-in and pre-registered programs take place in the centres as well as partners’ centres and other community spaces. Favourites include Action for Infants, young mom groups, and Book Corner, at which each parent and child can choose one book each visit to take home and keep – for free!
947 Queen St. E., Toronto
With four permanent sites that provide programs and services for young children and their families, as well as several satellite locations in schools, libraries, and community housing complexes, Scarborough East OEYCs are very accessible to the community.
Families can drop into Library Time, Circle of Friends and Baby’s Morning Out, or register in advance for Animal Adventure, French Fun, and Magic Math. Adult programs and services include Settlement Services—where adults can get answers to questions relating to immigration, welfare, and housing—and Employment Rights in Ontario.
Don’t miss out on weekly summer field trips to locations like the ROM and Ajax Rotary Park.
4218 Lawrence Ave., Unit 15, Scarborough
North Toronto Centres
Mothercraft is in charge of St. Paul’s OEYCs, which support parents and caregivers with a wide range of drop-in and pre-registered programs and information on child health and development in its main site and six satellite locations.
Parents and caregivers get to take part in fun programs like Let’s Get Messy, Music and Attachment, and Sensory Science. Caregivers can also get in on the fun with adult education workshops such as Baby Food Basics, Sleep, and Positive Guidance. This OEYC also offers free oral and dental screenings.
32 Heath St. W. (near Yonge St. and St. Clair Ave.), Toronto
Willowdale OEYC, run by Adventure Place Child and Family Centre, provides the Willowdale area with services ranging from early learning and literacy programs, parent education, community information, referrals, and outreach. In addition to their main site and two satellite locations, they now run programs in Willowdale Park and Bayview Village Park, too.
Little Chef, Messy Babies, and Fun with Numbers are pre-registered programs families can participate in, or families can go to drop-in programs like Family Time and Active Fun. Parent workshops include discussions on screen time, how to increase your child’s vocabulary, and how to deal with kids’ stress.
155 McNicoll Ave., Toronto
Halton Region Centres
At all four locations, Oakville Parent-Child Centre offers a wide variety of programs, including programs just for dads, programs in French and Spanish, and parent-baby yoga.
In addition to fun and interactive parenting workshops and support groups, there is a full-time parent educator on staff, who offers face-to-face consultations to help parents gain a better understanding of their child’s behaviour and develop personalized strategies to try at home.
Peel Region Centres
For early-learning programs staffed by trained early-childhood educators in Peel region, Child Development Resource Connection Peel has a main site located in Brampton with another satellite in Brampton and two in Mississauga.
They offer a fun place to explore, sing and read to support children’s emotional, social and learning development, as well as free monthly consultations for those concerned with their child’s behaviour or speech and language development. Stop by for Family Story Time, Baby Play Time, or Family Move and Groove, to name a few.
75 Waistline Ave., Mississauga
York Region Centres
Its main site is in Woodbridge, but with a satellite site in Aurora and outreach programs held in different locations throughout York Region, like the Strollers in Motion walk that meets in Melville Park, it’s easy to find a program convenient for you.
Programs include Come and Explore, where families and their children can engage in a variety of learning activities; Musical Babies, a social and musical program for infants; and Baby Games, focusing on using everyday items and activities to play, stimulate, and contribute to the baby’s development.
140 Woodbridge Ave., Vaughan
Durham Region Centres
The YWCA Durham OEYCs provide families in the Oshawa area with parenting and training resources through its main site and four satellite locations. Early Literacy Specialists help support young children, and programs like Play to Learn/Learn to Play are designed to encourage quality interactions between adult and child – and provide the opportunity for caregivers to socialize and support each other, too.
Participate in fun family programs, like K is for Kindergarten (a school readiness program), Baby Bootcamp, and Rock’n Rainforest.
1 McGrigor St., Oshawa
To find more options near you, search our directory for Early Learning and Childcare Centres in Toronto.