What is an Early Child Development Hub?
Early Child Development hubs will look quite different from one community to the next. Key to their development is their responsiveness to local needs. Specific service mix, location, and infrastructure will depend on the nature of the community and the characteristics of its children and families. There is no “one size fits all” model. In fact, to impose a common model would be detrimental to the already developing community programs.There are however, key components or principles that are ideally part of a local hub model.
- Hubs include the direct provision of at least two early child development or parent support services under the same roof, one of which will be a child care program (e.g. Infant/Toddler, preschool, etc.). Most existing hubs directly provide more than two services.
- Hubs have relationships or connections with most other ECD, Child Care and parent support services in the community. The hub building acts as the centre of a broader web of services. Parents and children accessing services in the hub building will be able to gain information and seamless access to a continuum of services.
- Hubs include a community development component. Due to the nature of hubs, there is a need for ongoing community development. This involves both outreach and development with children and families as well as ongoing relationship building with service providers and community stakeholders.
- Hubs make use of available space(s) in the community. Hubs can be located in community centres, schools, neighbourhood houses, libraries, public housing complexes, or occasionally private space (e.g. malls). Communities will assess the existence of available and accessible spaces as a first step in developing hub programs.