1. Smart Start 2. Nutrition Count 3. Time off for Mom 4. Workshops 5. Community Resources
1. Smart Start program
Our Smart Start program aims to develop the physical, social, emotional and cognitive development of the children under our care every Tuesday and Thursday from 10:30-3:30. Based on Quebec’s “Jouer, C’est Magique” program of active learning through play, the Smart Start Program encourages curiosity, develops autonomy and exposes the children to new experiences in a playful manner. Our multi-age classroom stimulates the natural diversity within the group.
Through the gentle guidance of Laurine, our Early Childhood Educator, the children are free to explore different learning opportunities, such as bilingual storytelling; develop social skills through sharing and playing in groups; explore and identify their emotions and securely separate from their parents.
Every month, we have a different theme such as Nature, the Solar System, etc. As their mornings begin, they play, color, and learn new information related to the month’s theme. They then join their parents in the dining room for a hot nutritious meal, and then it is off to do indoor or outdoor activities. After a few hours they return for their nap time or quiet time.
The children also learn self-hygiene skills; develop their Fine Motor Skills and Gross Motor Skills. The Fine Motor Skills require the use of their smaller muscles, and this is developed through coloring, cutting with scissors, water painting, letter forming and using play dough. The Gross Motor Skills are developed with the use of large muscles in the arms, legs and torso. We achieve this by doing activities in door like jumping running and climbing. Our outdoor activities consist of making numerous trips to the park and the Benny library. All this is accomplished with a lot of fun and play, as we help to build self confidence and self esteem.
Our aim is to prepare the children for kindergarten, by means of the Smart Start Program, and with the support of resources like the Psycho-educators at the CLSC we hope to achieve it.
2. Nutrition Counts Program
Funded by Ville de Montreal MTESS, the Nutrition Counts program has a dual purpose.
First, it is a pre-employability program where mothers take turn to prepare the meals twice a week. Under the guidance of Maria (Parent Animator), they learn how to plan and prepare nutritious meals for their families on a limited budget. They learn to seek out the best prices for the ingredients needed. They try to buy fruits and vegetables in season and locally sourced. The program helps them acquire employable and transferable skills. such as working with a team, leadership, adaptability, creativity and working and staying within a budget. They adapt recipes to accommodate food allergies and intolerance. They adapt health conscious practices by using healthy oils, using less sugar and salt. They are exposed to cultural diversity and sensitivity in the workplace. They are able to seek information and recipes on the internet and other resources. They share recipes from other cultures. They learn to cook for small and large groups and develop good work ethics. As the mothers evolve, some have moved on with their lives, six mothers were able to seek employment in various nursing homes and they have expressed how grateful they are to Women on the Rise for empowering them.
Second, through this program, we are able to provide two nutritious, delicious and freshly prepared lunches per week for up to 20 participants on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Having lunch together breaks down feelings of isolation and other cultural barriers under the unifying energy of good food and the company of other moms. Through Moisson Montreal and Generation Foundation, we are able to provide monthly food baskets with nutritious items, fresh fruits and vegetables as well as snacks to approximately 40 families. This year we have prepared more than 330 baskets for our moms and their families.
Our moms also benefit from
Networking with a culturally diverse group
Clothing, toys and other donations
Basketball summer camps for the children courtesy of Trevor Williams
Christmas Food Baskets from Mr. Otis Grant
Arts & Crafts Summer Camp by the Museum of Fine Arts
Occasional tickets to the ballet, plays or movies
3. Time off for Mom
The goal of this program is to provide respite to the mothers with children from 2 – 5 years old. This will give them some “ME” time; time to meet friends and other adults for coffee, tea and conversation. They can practice some “self-care” activities like yoga, a quiet walk or jog in the park to energize them and replenish their spirit. They can also use this time to run important errands such as their doctor’s appointments or bank appointments without the distraction of caring for their children at the same time. Their minds will be at ease as their little ones will be in the care of our Early Childhood Educator, who follows the Smart Start Program.
The mother’s can drop off the children at 10:30 and pick them up at 3:30 on Monday mornings. The children will be provided with a healthy lunch and snacks after structured activities like story time, coloring, and drawing or outside play when the weather permits. There will be a rest period after lunch. They may have a last activity or free play with their educator until it’s time for mom to pick them up.
Mom’s Personal Enrichment Programs and Activities:
The day starts every Tuesday and Thursday when mothers of various ethnicities arrive at Women on the Rise anytime from 10:00 am onwards. These days are important to our mothers as they are eager to see each other and always have so much to share. Our mission is ‘helping mothers to help themselves’. We aim to achieve this mission by means of empowerment. This is usually attained through workshops, one on one counselling, networking and sharing information. Our main focus is always to alleviate isolation and encourage the mothers to be well balanced individuals that are capable of effective parenting.
At 12pm mothers, children , staff and volunteers come together for a hot healthy meal. This meal is planned and prepared by our mothers through our program Nutrition Counts. After the meal, mothers clean up and prepare for the upcoming workshop from 2:00 - 3:30pm. These workshops are an intrinsic part of their development into a better parent and individual, because not only is it informative, it also enables them to make informative decisions that ultimately improve their relationships with their children, partners and their lives. When Women on the Rise extends a helping hand to our moms the benefits ripple through to other parts of their lives in the long term.
- Mother and Child activity in the park
- Special Outings such as Botanical Gardens, Apple Picking, Picnic at the Park, Sugar Shack, Planetarium, Photo Shoot with Santa at the Mall, etc.
- Attending Conferences on Women and Empowerment.
- Exercise, workout and dance
- Health and wellbeing
- Housing and rental rights and obligations
- Security: Personal, Internet, Fraud & Environment
- Implementing French in an Allophone setting
- Strengthening Families and relationships through communication
- Cooking Workshops & Demonstration
- Job opportunities or going back to school
5. Community Resources:
Through donations we are able to help allow families the opportunity to take full advantage of some of the resources that are available.
Through Moisson Montreal and Generation Foundation, we are able to provide monthly food baskets with nutritious items, fresh fruits and vegetables as well as snacks to approximately 40 families. This year we have prepared more than 330 baskets for our moms and their families.