First time visiting your neighbourhood EarlyON Centre (formerly Best Start Hubs)?


Things you may want to know before you go…

EarlyON Child and Family Centres are free family centres located in schools, offering families in Greater Sudbury a place to meet, to learn, and to grow together.

1. Do I need to call ahead and register for a EarlyON program?

No! You are welcome to show up to any drop-in program. At the Centre they will ask you to register and give you a card so you can sign you and your child(ren) in for safety purposes. You only need to register in advance for special programs that have limited spaces. It will tell you on the calendar if registration is required.

2. What ages do EarlyON Centres serve?

EarlyON programming is designed for children from birth to 6 years old and their parents or caregivers. Playgroup or drop-in times are good for any age- even pregnant moms who want to learn from other parents or ask questions. Some EarlyON programs are designed for specific ages. For example, Baby's Day Out is for babies up to 12 or 18 months, depending on the Hub.

3. What does a EarlyOn program cost?

Nothing! It's a free service.

4. What should I bring to the Centre?

Pack a bag the same you would if you were going to the mall for a few hours. Bring comfortable indoor shoes for you and your child, if they are walking. A healthy snack is usually provided.  If your child has special dietary needs feel free to bring your own nut free snacks.

5.  How do I find the EarlyOn Centre?

EarlyON Centres are located in schools throughout Greater Sudbury. Addresses are listed here. Once you find the school it can be tricky to make your way to the Centre the first time. All schools are locked during the school day so you need to 'buzz' in from outside.  There are signs directing you to the door with the buzzer, and to the Centre once you enter the school. If you're not sure you can ask the staff when you buzz in if they can come and meet you.  If you have a stroller with you, ask the staff where you should leave it while you are in the Centre.

At your first visit a staff member will show you around and have you fill out a registration. They will give you a card or registration number so you can sign in on later visits. This helps to make sure the EarlyON staff knows who is there and lets them keep track of how many people are attending their programs.

6. I don’t have a car. Can I get some help getting to an EarlyON Centre?

If your nearest EarlyON Centre is not in walking distance to your house, you may be able to use Sudbury Transit to visit your Centre. Information about Bus Routes serving each centre is provided on the Sudbury Families website here.

If money is tight and paying for the bus is a barrier to you attending EarlyON programs, call your neighbourhood centre and ask if they provide bus tickets to help. Many centres have a limited number of bus tickets that they can provide to families who need them.

7. What goes on at a EarlyON Centre?

EarlyON Centres are home-like, child and family-friendly spaces. Feel free to sit down with your child and other families and play. There are a variety of learning centres, toys, equipment and activities to appeal every level of child development.

During playgroup or drop-in times children are free to participate in whichever activities they choose. There may be some time set aside for the adults and children to gather together to participate in staff-run activities (anything from parenting discussions to sing-a-longs). 

You are welcome to stay for the entire playgroup or drop-in time, or come and go as you wish. EarlyON Centres also offer more structured programs at the centre or in other community locations, which sometimes require  that families sign up in advance. Check the centre’s calendar for events and activities coming up.

EarlyON Centres offer a great opportunity for children to interact with other children, but also for families to meet and get involved in the community. Staff members come from early childhood and social service backgrounds, among others, and have lots of training and experience. They are there to answer your questions about child development, community services and parenting.

Each Centre has its own personality and provides different services to respond to the needs in the neighbourhood. You are welcome to check out more than one centre and choose the one that suits you and your child!

8. How can I find out the schedule at my EarlyON Centre?

All EarlyON Centres post their activities, along with many other events for families, on the sudburyfamilies.ca/calendar. If you want to see just the activities offered at one centre, go to our EarlyON Centre page and click on the centre you are interested in. You'll find a link for that centre's activities on their page.

When you visit the EarlyON Centre, you can also ask if that centre has a printed calendar you can take home or an email list or a facebook page or group that you can join.

9.  Who is in charge of EarlyON Centres? And where does their funding come from?

Each EarlyON Child and Family Centre is operated by one of five local, non-profit community organizations.  EarlyON Centres are funded by the City of Greater Sudbury, with funding provided by the Government of Ontario.

EarlyON Centres were called Best Start Hubs until Dec. 2017 in Greater Sudbury. In other parts of the province, similar programs were called Ontario Early Years Centres or Parent Child Literacy Centres. EarlyON Centres also get support from, and work in partnership with, other agencies like school boards, the Sudbury District Health Unit, Greater Sudbury Public Library and others. EarlyOn Centres can refer families to many other services if needed- like Wordplay Preschool Speech and Language Services, Child and Community Resources, or the Children's Community Network- for screening, assessment or programming.

10.  Why are there French, English and an Aboriginal Centres, instead of keeping everyone together?

The early years are critical for children's language and cultural development and having more specialized environments is really helpful for the development of strong language skills and cultural connection in young children. Families are welcome to choose whichever environment best meets their family's needs.

We encourage families who are getting their children ready to attend French language schools (not French Immersion) to attend french-language EarlyON centres (called Centres pour l’enfant et la famille ON y va). They are committed to supporting families who are learning French but ask that parents help them to maintain the Francophone environment by keeping English to a minimum.

The Aboriginal EarlyON Centre is open to everyone who is interested in learning about First Nations and Metis culture.

11.  Who do I talk to if I have a concern about an EarlyON Centre?

If you have a question or concern about the centre you attend, talk to the staff at the centre or ask to talk to a manager or director at the agency that operates the centre. If you have a concern that you feel has not been resolved by the staff or manager at the agency, you are welcome to talk to the Quality Team in the Children Services Section, City of Greater Sudbury. Call 705-674-4455 ext 4279 and you will be directed to one of the City's Quality Coordinators. 

12. What are benefits of attending EarlyON Centres?

Every parent or caregiver has their own reason for attending EarlyON, but the ones we hear the most are:

- To help their children develop, make friends and get ready for school
- To give the parent/caregiver a chance to get out and meet other parents
- To learn about their child's development, and make sure they are on track
- To give their children access to new toys, equipment and experiences they may not have at home
- To ask questions and get support from trained staff, and other parents
- To learn more about other programs and resources
- To have fun with their child!

If you have any more questions please call the Centre in your neighbourhood, or go to sudburyfamilies.ca/askus

EarlyON Centre Contact Info

Find a list of all centres and their contact info here: http://sudburyfamilies.ca/earlyon/ 

See you at the EarlyON Centre!