I have been enjoying Tim Taylor’s series of articles about the growth and development of the Niagara Nursery School. It’s been quite a journey.
I was the teacher at the school in the early 1980s when the school was housed in the basement at Parliament Oak.
Although the stairs would pose a problem by today’s accessibility standards, the actual location of Parliament Oak was within easy walking distance of some of the most teachable moments in the Niagara region.
We explored trenches from the War of 1812 at St. Mark’s Church and met real firefighters at the hall on King Street during Community Helpers Week. We got to sit in the fire truck and work the lights.
We visited the Niagara Home Bakery at both Christmas and Easter, and were treated to gingerbread men and chocolate roosters.
Theatre Beyond Words welcomed us and let us try on the masks worn by the Potato People.
We walked to Lion’s Beach and fed the ducks, and went sledding in Simcoe Park in the winter.
The kids got used to the physical plant of Parliament Oak, which afforded a seamless transition to kindergarten and we were included in all of the school’s special, seasonal activities.
John Bissell was the school custodian and was not responsible for our classroom, yet he often washed our floors, and I know he gave the whole classroom a thorough cleaning during the summer. He knew the kids by name and they all loved him.
The ’70s and ’80’s were magical years for the kids growing up in Niagara-on-the-Lake and the various locations of the Niagara Nursery School during that time were exactly right.
Nevertheless, times and communities change and new models are needed to meet demand and satisfy legislation.
I’m very grateful for the time I spent teaching so many great kids and getting to know their families, and for the community that supported our learning experiences so generously.
I wish the Niagara Nursery School continued success over the next 50 years.
Allains Creek, N.S.