Families with Young Children
The family program at Access Alliance focuses on families with children aged 0 – 12 years of age who live in under-serviced areas of the city, including Scarborough, Etobicoke, North York, and downtown Toronto.
We provide EarlyON Programs in the Taylor-Massey neighbourhood for parents with young children. EarlyON staff conducts playgroups and workshops about early learning topics, provides support and information regarding community resources and makes referrals. Parents and children can enjoy activities such as singing songs and rhymes, show and tell, creative, sensory play, story time and cooking. EarlyON also offers March break and summer programs for children 0 – 6 years.
Access Alliance is also currently offering on a weekly basis:
- Three EarlyON Drop-In Programs (in person)
- One Parenting Workshop (in person)
- Connecting with Families (online)
- Monthly Events/Celebrations (in person)
- PA Day EarlyON Drop-In (in person)
- Healthy Child Screening (once a year, in person)
Healthy Child Screenings
The Healthy Child Screening program is a partnership initiative run through our east end location, AccessPoint on Danforth.
The purpose of the HCS is to enhance healthy early childhood development as children prepare to enter the school system. The HCS also helps parents address early childhood developmental issues, increases their knowledge of programs and services available to support their children, and helps build coping skills and the ability to manage stress if a developmental issue is identified for their child.
Every year in the spring, we organize screening events for children who will be entering school in the fall and who are referred by community agencies. At each screening, children and their parents (or guardians) visit a series of ‘health screening stations’ and meet with trained professionals (called screeners) including nurses, dental hygienists, speech and language, vision, hearing, social workers, and settlement workers.
The screeners ask age-appropriate questions and provide information regarding each child’s specific needs. Children visit each station with a ‘Healthy Child Screening Passport’, and receive a sticker at each station. When children need a break, they can visit the Children’s Activity Table. There is also a resource table where parents/guardians can learn about community resources. Interpreters are also available during the events upon request.
After each HCS event, a follow-up worker contacts each parent/guardian to ensure that families connect with the appropriate resources and referrals that were suggested during the screenings.
The HCS is possible because of the great partnerships Access Alliance has with Secord, George Webster and Crescent Town Elementary Schools, Thorncliffe Neighbourhood Office, and East York East Toronto Family Resources. Each of these partner agencies brings valuable experience and knowledge to the initiative so that it can continue to reach more children.
Please contact us for more information about the Healthy Child Screening Initiative.
Other resources for families
COVID-19 resource list for families produced by Toronto Children’s Services, December 2020. This resource includes information that may also be helpful to families generally dealing with illness or health matters.