- About Us
Founded in 1981 as the Orleans Co-operative Nursery School, The Orleans Preschool (TOPS) has served the Orleans community in the same location for over 35 years. The preschool runs programs for children eighteen months to five years of age, with a flexible variety of options designed to meet the needs of today’s busy families.
The Orleans Preschool is an incorporated non-profit nursery school run by the Director of the school and administered by a volunteer Board of Directors made up of interested parents. We are licensed by the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Health on a yearly basis. The City of Ottawa provides funding to The Orleans Preschool, to help maintain quality programming and to lessen staff turn over by offering more competitive salaries for each Educator.
On September 17, 2016, The Orleans Preschool celebrated our 35th Anniversary!
Deputy Mayor / City Councillor Bob Monette visited the preschool and awarded us a certificate to commemorate this milestone.
The building was built as a nursery school in 1985. As a purpose-built nursery school we have built in art easels, bathrooms specially sized for preschoolers and sinks in both classrooms. We have a diaper changing area and a private bathroom for those who desire it. The school is built on one level and is completely accessible.
The preschool was recently renovated in 2016, updating the look and making it, even more, inviting for children thanks to a grant from The City of Ottawa and through fundraising initiatives. Throughout the years we have maintained and replaced the roof, windows, doors, fence, furnace and air conditioning.
We have two classrooms, each with large windows for natural lighting, one designated as a gross motor room with climbing equipment, a water table, a dramatic play area, and a sand table, and one designated as an art room with the easels, areas for creating, a book area, puzzles, manipulative toys and a discovery table. Both rooms have areas where children can be quiet by themselves, or join others in activities. Each child has their own clearly designated cubby for their outdoor clothing and belongings while they are at school.
Our large enclosed outdoor area is well equipped with two sandboxes, a safe, age-appropriate climbing structure, a hill and a bike path. We have a large selection of tricycles, riding toys, balls, sand toys, shovels and sleds, as well as equipment for other gross motor activities like jumping, digging and playing co-operatively. The playground has direct access to the school (the only access to the building is through the playground). The children play outdoors every day, weather permitting.
The school has a large inventory of toys which are changed weekly or bi-weekly. Most toys are out only once or twice during the year.
What does it mean to be a cooperative preschool?
TOPS is a co-operative nursery school, but there are no duty days. However, parents are always welcome to join us in the program. As a co-operative, the program is enriched by the participation and interaction among parents, staff and children. Involvement in your child’s school conveys the importance of education and helps the school become an extension of family for your child. Parents are encouraged to “pick a path” of involvement to accommodate the demands of their weekly schedules. Signing up for our committees ensure that we keep fees low and that parents are involved in their child’s preschool experience. Each family is required to sign up for a committee. For a list of committees, please click here.
Parents in the preschool programs take a turn to clean the school one week during the year (your choice of the week). Families come in on Wednesday evening to vacuum the carpets and wash the floors and then return on the weekend to vacuum and wash again as well as wipe down surfaces like cupboards. The total time commitment is about 3-4 hours ~ there is a buyout option for those who do not wish to clean themselves. Finally, parents are asked to be part of a committee. Time commitment may be very short (an hour or two for the whole year) or parents may choose to be part of the Board of Directors who meet for about one hour every month.
A $100 Fundraising Fee is required by all families. The Fundraising Fee is put towards any renovations or unforeseen repairs that may occur throughout the school year. Payment options are available. This fee is considered a Charitable Donation and therefore a Charitable Donation Income Tax receipt is provided at Income Tax time.
Optional fundraising opportunities will be available throughout the year.
The Orleans Preschool receives and applies for grant initiatives provided by the City of Ottawa and the Ministry of Education to help augment wages and offset the cost of operations and maintenance.
Guest speakers and other invited guests
TOPS welcome a variety of guest speakers (artists, safety council, community helpers, librarian etc.) into the program on a regular basis to further enhance the children’s learning. Due to safety and logistical reasons, there are no field trips outside the school.
Throughout the year we may have student teachers at the school, who come in to learn from our teaching staff and help enrich our environment in many ways. These students come from high schools, community colleges and some university programs.
The teachers are happy to discuss any concerns that parents/guardians may have at any time. The teachers observe the children throughout the year. In late February they conduct Parent/Teacher meetings to discuss their children’s progress. At the end of the year, each child receives an observation form relevant to their year. The teachers also function as an ‘extra set of eyes and ears’ in observing the children and may suggest further investigation of anything which seems unusual.