Day Nursery Centre History

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© 2008, Day Nursery Centre Inc.

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Annotated History

1909   The Mothers’ Association established and opened the first-day nursery at 303 Flora Avenue on March 12, 1909.
1911   Mothers’ Association of Winnipeg incorporated under the Charitable Association Act R.S.M. 1962, By Letters Patents December 28/10
1912   Larger quarters were necessary, so the Nursery moved to 378 Stella Avenue.
1939 to 1944   Surveys were conducted re: the agency’s service, reflecting a growing interest in raising standards in pre-school care.
1951   Corporate name change to the Mothers Association Day Nursery Centre.
1953   A “Self Study” was conducted by request of the Board of Directors to the Welfare Council for assistance in studying the total program in the nursery. As a result of this study, a qualified staff was engaged and a nursery based on accepted minimum standards was set up and an integrated program of health, education and casework was planned.
1954   Corporate name changed to Day Nursery Centre by Supplementary letters, Patent, dated November 12, 1954.

1963   The first public financial support was granted under the Social Allowance Act.

1965   Day Nursery Centre received assistance from the Department of Welfare, the City of St. James in March, on the same basis as was received from the City of Winnipeg.

1968   Day Nursery Centre became eligible for financial assistance under the Canadian Assistance Plan in October.

1970   The third unit of Day Nursery Centre was opened in Trinity Parish Hall, 256 Smith Street in February.

1972   The official opening of the new unit at 336 Flora Avenue was held on March 22, 1972.

1973   A reception was given on October 15, 1973, by the Board of Directors and staff of Day Nursery Centre, for Mrs. Gretta H. Brown in honour of her twenty years of service as Executive Director. The building at 336 Flora Avenue was officially named, “GRETTA H. BROWN UNIT”.

1976   Mrs. Gretta H. Brown retired on November 1, 1976 after 23 years of dedicated service.

1976   Day Nursery Centre phased into the Child Day Care Program, a division of the Department of Health and Social Development, Province of Manitoba. Parents make applications for subsidies and pay the fee assessed them by the Provincial Government.

1979   The Smith Street Unit moved in April to new premises at 355 Kennedy Street.

1984   A federally funded Core Area Initiative Program facilitated renovations to all three centres.

1987   Two rooms were added to the Kennedy Unit – a staff room and a library.

1990   The Province of Manitoba licenses for Early Childhood Educators are according to three classifications. The highest classification is ECE III (this represents a 4-year college degree, university degree, or Red River Community College diploma). As of August 1990, our staff are classified as follows: 13 ECE III, 8 ECE II, and 2 aides.

1993   The Broadway Unit relocates in August to the new “Crossways In Common” complex at the corner of Broadway Avenue and Furby Street. The Broadway Unit is renamed “Crossways”.

1994   Infant Centre opens on August 2nd, 1994 at the Crossways Unit to care for eight children, ages 12 weeks to 2 years.

1996   Day Nursery Centre adopts a mission statement.

1997 to 1998   Day Nursery Centre, Gretta Brown Unit was approached by Manitoba Child and Youth Secretariat to be a research site for the new “Early Start Project” which Health Canada will fund. The main activity of this Project is “Home Visiting”.

1999 to 2000   Board and staff attended a Strategic Planning Session in February 2000. Organizational Review was completed. Gretta Brown received a new playground structure. Kennedy receives an overall “facelift” by Manitoba Housing. Open House for the Kennedy Centre was held in October.

2000 to 2001   A Staff Retreat was held in Gimli, Manitoba on April 7th and 8th.

Gretta Brown Addition and Renovation Project is completed with a Grand Opening held in June 2001.

Organizational changes within Day Nursery Centre took place as Board of Directors voted to pursue the Organization Structure Review in principle. The first step was to split the present Executive Director/Crossways Centre Director position as of June 1, 2001.

2001 to 2002  New positions of Inclusion Specialist and Children’s Service Manager are implemented. In addition to the core skills expected of an ECE, the Early Childhood Inclusion Specialist coordinates provision of developmental services and programming for children with special needs. The Children’s Services Manager is responsible for the development, implementation, and evaluations of all children’s programs operated by Day Nursery Centre.

2002 to 2003  After discontinuing the hot lunch program in June of 2002 due to lack of funds, the Young Hearts Eat Smart fund raising campaign reached out to the community and managed to reinstate the program. Community partners and funders such as Edward Carrier Salon, the Winnipeg Foundation, Carpathia Credit Union, The Manitoba Nutrition Council, and Mazon Canada all supported us to the extent that we could again offer the much-needed program to families by October.

A strategic planning session was held with Board and staff collaborating on five goals to work towards over the next few years.

Worker’s Compensation funded a Health, Safety & Professional Development Program as a pilot project to help reduce personal injuries at work and home, and to enhance staff’s overall personal wellness.

Emergent Curriculum was also implemented in January with the Children’s Services Manager, now the Coordinator of Children’s Programs, assisting staff through the transition.

2003 to 2004  The Workplace Health, Safety & Wellness program funded by the Worker’s Compensation Board of Manitoba was fully implemented and evaluated with positive outcomes and results for the employee of Day Nursery Centre.

The Winnipeg Foundation approved a third year of funding for the Coordinator of Children’s Programs position as well as a third and final year of funding for our Hot Lunch Program.

The Board of Directors reviewed, revised and approved: new job descriptions for Early Childhood Educators and Child Care Assistants, Personnel Policy and Procedure Manual and revisions to our Mission Statement, Goals and objectives to reflect our commitment of providing meaningful inclusion for all children in our centres.

A new Vision Statement was created.

2004 to 2005   Funding for the Coordinator of Children’s Programs position ended December 31st, 2004.

A “PATH” session was held in February to strategize goals for the next two years.  Board, staff and parents participated in creating six goals.

Early Start programs merged with Babies First programs throughout the province on April 1st, 2005.  The newly formed program is called “Families First.”  It is being funded by Healthy Child Manitoba and the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority and is no longer housed out of child care facilities.

The Federal Government made a commitment to establish a National Early Learning and Child Care Program.  Manitoba was the first province to sign the bi-lateral agreement on Early Learning and Child Care with the Federal Government.

The Worker’s Compensation Board of Manitoba approved a grant for a second phase to Day Nursery Centre’s Workplace Health, Safety and Wellness program.

2005 to 2006  Day Nursery Centre’s commitment to inclusion and diversity is strengthened by approving a new Inclusion Statement.

The newly elected Conservative government in January 2006 announces its child care plan, which cancels the bi-lateral agreement on Early Learning and Child Care as of April 1, 2007.

Work continues on Day Nursery Centre’s Workplace Health, Safety and Wellness program -Phase II.  A third project is approved by Workers Compensation Board, Community Initiatives program, Day Nursery Centre’s Workplace Health, Safety and Wellness Program- from ideas to results.  This project produced a 15 minute DVD that summarized our findings and works with our first two projects.  It is also intended to be used by others in our field as a training tool and a provocation for others to implement their own Workplace Health, Safety and Wellness program.  “A Guide to Workplace Health Safety and Wellness“ premiered at the Annual General Meeting.

Day Nursery Centre’s 100th Anniversary Committee is formed in preparation for the upcoming 100th AGM in 2008 and its anniversary in 2009.

The Manitoba Child Care Program grants Day Nursery Centre a one time grant of $25,000.  This grant allows us to continue the Hot Lunch program for the children.


2006 to 2007  Day Nursery Centres Workplace Health, Safety and Wellness project continues to have a positive impact on Day Nursery Centre and the community, as the video “A guide to Workplace Health Safety and wellness” is shared with the community. The committee provided a workshop at the Manitoba Child Care Association Annual Conference, “Avoiding Pain and Strain in an Early Childhood Environment”.

A reward and recognition survey is given to staff. A Reward and Recognition Committee is formed.

The Early Learning and Child Care Capital Fund Program grant provides funding for the Crossways site to replace the flooring, children’s bathroom vanities, sinks and faucets, as well as partial funding for Gretta Brown’s furnace and flooring.

The Kiwanis Club of Winnipeg supports Day Nursery Centre with a grant to purchase toys and equipment.

The Manitoba Child Care Program implements a requirement that all CCA’s employed in a centre for more than a year must complete a 40-hour Early Childhood Education course.

The provincial government announced in April that there would be an overall 2% increase to unit funding and a 13% adjustment to subsidy levels. In addition, a 40 cent reduction to the $2.40 non-subsidized daily fee for subsidized families was implemented. This brought the fee for subsidized families down to $2.00 per day.

2008 to 2009  The 100th Anniversary Committee of Day Nursery Centre, was busy this past year planning and implementing, anniversary events: building a float and participating in the Power Smart/Winnipeg Jaycees Santa Clause parade on November 15/08, holding birthday party celebrations on March 12/09 in all centres (March 12th was the date 100 years ago that the first centre opened at 303 Flora Ave) and A Mothers Day tea “Tea overtime” was held on May 9/09 to commemorate the Mothers Association of Winnipeg. This event included tea fares, such as fancy sandwiches, dainties, tea, historical displays, entertainment throughout the afternoon and a silent auction.

Day Nursery Centre continued to support staff in their professional development with opportunities such as the Director’s conference, The Manitoba Child Care Annual Conference, the Reggio Emilia Inspired conference amongst various other workshops and courses. In-house workshops included Children and Sexuality and a staff/board retreat at Pinewood Lodge in Dorothy Lake.

A working alone/isolation policy, a child sexuality/gender policy, and a new salary scale, were approved by the board of directors.


2009-2010  Day Nursery Centre’s 100th year of service to the community ended with a Community BBQ held outdoors at the Gretta Brown Unit on September 12, 2009. Generous donations were provided by local community organizations and food, fun and entertainment were provided. A fitting way to end our anniversary year was having our staff/board holiday party at Ralph Conner House in West Gate, the childhood home of Gretta Brown, who was a pioneer of child care in Manitoba and Executive Director of Day Nursery Centre from 1953-1976.

The Hot Lunch Program continued during this period with a small charge of 50 cents a day per child starting September 2009, to help sustain this important program.

A Pandemic Plan, Inclusion Policy, Code of Conduct, Use of Electronic Equipment Policy and Locked Door Policy were all created.

Individualized Enhanced Safety Plans for each site of Day Nursery Centre, which outlines plans and procedures for staff to follow in the event of emergencies from fire, to threatening behaviours, to tornados were created and revised.

2010-2011 The centres were fortunate to receive funding from the community for projects which included a Natural Playground Enhancement for Gretta Brown and video monitors.

A  Preschool Curriculum Statement was created.  Staff incorporated more nature-inspired programming with the children and Day Nursery Centre also took steps to become more environmentally conscious.

2011-2012 One of our key highlights this year was bringing Day Nursery Centre Kid Gloves Unit Inc. into the Day Nursery Centre family as of April 1, 2012.

2012-2013  A major project of expanding and renovating the Kennedy Unit.  Construction began in the summer of 2013.

The staff of DNC continued to pursue lifelong learning and attend PD opportunities such as the Manitoba Nature Summit, MCCA’s Annual Conference, Day Nursery Centre’s in-house workshops and retreat.

2013-2014 After considerable planning, collaboration and funding support from community funders, the Kennedy Unit renovation and expansion project finally began. During the time of construction, the children and families from the Kennedy Unit were relocated to the gyms in the Gretta Brown and Crossways Units from May 2013 to January 20, 2014.  A celebration and grand re-opening was held on June 5, 2014.

The centres took part in a Forest School Pilot Project with Fort Whyte Alive.  The children and staff travelled to Fort Whyte Alive monthly to take part which helped develop positive relations between the children and the natural world.

The Kid Gloves Unit underwent playground and kitchen renovations. The kitchen renovation allowed us to implement a hot lunch program in the centre in October 2013.

An Infant Curriculum statement was developed for infant programs at the Kennedy and Crossways Unit.

2014-2015 The Crossways Unit underwent a playground transformation. A nature playground was created.

The Kennedy Unit formed a partnership with Essential Skills Manitoba and Manitoba Early Learning and Child Care by providing eight child care spaces for parents who are training and preparing to return to work.

The Kid Gloves Unit installed new cabinets for food storage and children’s sink in one of their play areas.

Lifelong learning is highly valued at Day Nursery Centre. On October 4, 2014, for the first time in DNC history, our board of directors allowed our programs to close at noon, in order for our staff to be able to participate in learning together.

We continued work on aligning our centres with our green mission statement and connecting children to nature.

2015-2016 In May 2015, the Gretta Brown Unit experienced a leak which turned into a larger issue as asbestos was found.  The centre closed and the children were relocated to Day Nursery Centre’s other Units and the RB Russell Infant Program.

Kitchen renovations took place at the Gretta Brown and Crossways Units with funding support from private donations, The Winnipeg Foundation and the Community Places Program.

Learning Stories are now used for communication to families and board members.

Board members developed a policy to close the centres two days a year at noon in order for educators to participate in Professional Development.

The full unification of Day Nursery Centre Kid Gloves Unit Inc. with Day Nursery Centre Inc. took place on April 1, 2016.  DNC now operates four child programs with one business and one charity number and one Board of Directors.

Core values were created, after a process of collaboration between staff and board members.  Day Nursery Centre values are:  Beauty, Growth and Development, Happiness, Inclusiveness, Relationships and Wellness.

2016-2017 Our pedagogical journey continued with our in-house workshops and staff focusing on reflective practice.  In-house workshops were facilitated by DNC staff, including ones held at our March staff retreat in Gimli, MB. Our Crossways unit participated in a Reflective Teaching Cohorts Project through The Manitoba Child Care Association with Deb Curtis.

DNC Kid Gloves Unit replaced the flooring in half of the centre, with funding support from The Winnipeg Foundation. The Kiwanis Club of Winnipeg also supported new furniture and equipment for all four programs.

DNC participated in Manitoba Child Care Association’s probe research survey – which surveyed parents, educators, the business community and community members.  It provided some important data that was presented to the government.

A lunch program fundraising letter was sent to all parents of DNC.   Parents responded positively with donations to help sustain this important program.  A new interactive webpage was launched in June.

2017-2018 Board members and staff came together in January 2018 to create a new PATH for Day Nursery Centre’s next three years.

All four sites underwent renovations with the support of The Winnipeg Foundation, the Thomas Sill Foundation, Manitoba Community Services Council and the Kiwanis Club of Winnipeg.  Renovations included new flooring at Kid Gloves, Crossways and the Gretta Brown Units.  A new loft was installed at the Crossways unit. New cupboards were installed at both the Crossways and Gretta Brown Units.   Renovations and new office furniture were installed in offices at all four Day Nursery Centre sites.

2018-2019 The Kennedy Unit undergoes extensive renovations starting in July 2019.  Children from the Kennedy Unit moved into two new locations at 557 Ellice and 195 Young St.

Day Nursery Centre advocated on behalf of the Manitoba Child Care Association and collected 1,000 of the 26,000 signatures on a petition that supported increased funding for early learning and child care. The petition was presented to the government over numerous days during house sessions.

The Winnipeg Foundation, funded our Connecting Children to Nature Program, The Kiwanis Club of Winnipeg funded office equipment and equipment for the children’s programs.  Family Dynamics funded a facilitator to mentor our staff in delivering the Second Step program.

2019-2020 As a follow up to the 26000+ signatures that MCCA received in early 2019, DNC participated in the MCCA’s Walk for Awareness for Early Learning and Child Care on August 20th.

In December we created a Pedagogical Leader Position.  Having a Pedagogical Leader has helped support our educators to enhance the process of learning within our programs.

We were able to enhance our programs with physical changes such as new flooring at the Crossways Unit, new lighting at the Gretta Brown unit and new doors at the Kid Gloves Unit with funding support from the Winnipeg Foundation and Thomas Sill Foundation.  We also were able to have toy and equipment upgrades with support from The Kiwanis Club of Winnipeg.   The Winnipeg Foundation also supported our beloved and important Connecting Children to Nature Program.

On March 20, 2020, the Manitoba Government declared a province-wide state of emergency under the Emergency Measures Act to protect the health and safety of all Manitobans and reduce the spread of the Coronavirus COVID-19.  DNC closed on March 20, 2020.  Units began reopening, with a limited number of children, starting May 19.  Stringent screening and cleaning protocols were followed and new program guidelines were followed to keep everyone safe and limit the spread of COVID.