With the autumn leaves now fallen, a new year about to begin and the world constantly changing, it doesn’t take much to realize how quickly time flies. So fast, in fact, that CISS is celebrating its 30th anniversary! With a variety of approaches, our program has always stayed true to its mission – to promote inclusion and support all licensed child care centres in the City of Ottawa. Over the past 30 years, we have evolved with the same purpose, passion and values. 30 years of building community partnerships, supporting families and children, and reaching thousands.
Through our newsletter, we have found a way to celebrate this accomplishment with you. We would not be here today without your contribution, collaboration, dedication and passion. We invite you to travel back in time to discover our history and some of the faces that have shaped Children’s Inclusion Support Services. We have included a glimpse of our history, messages from significant people in our program, interviews with team members who have been with us since the very beginning of CISS, wishes from our partners and pictures from our early days up until today.
On behalf of the entire CISS team, we thank you for the past 30 years and look forward to collaborating with you in the years to come.
View the special edition.
Thirty years of collaboration, connections and conversations have served to guide the foundation, essence and innovation that is Children’s Inclusion Support Services. Most importantly, the success of this service is due to the community trust, willingness to embrace inclusion and view that all children belong.
At the recent Supervisor meeting someone said they could not imagine their program without the support of CISS, and I agree, but I do remember when CISS did not exist. As Educators we just did what we could. We read what was available (typically not much) asked questions of the parents and hoped that our interactions were supportive but never quite confident that we were doing all we could. Sometimes the ask felt like more than could be successful without support; I am sure some children were not included but could have been.
Happy Anniversary to CISS and to the hundreds of people who make inclusion possible in Ottawa child care centres every day! This is a time to celebrate the dedication and caring that go into welcoming and including children with special needs in child care programs across the city. The training, support, strategies and equipment that we provide are only a small part of what makes up these inclusive child care experiences. Attitudes and beliefs of the child care staff are at the heart of these successful experiences. Teamwork, innovation and a willingness to do things differently are evident in every component of the child care day. From the initial intake with families to adaptations in daily routine that are starting to feel less like adaptations and more like something that has become a natural part of the day, the evolution over the past 30 years is truly remarkable!
Congratulations to CISS as you mark your 30th Anniversary! From the original vision for an inclusive model of supported child care in our community, the innovative foundation that was developed has always been about opportunities for all children and their families to belong.
It was critical that the new inclusion model that was envisioned, provide support in both official languages. French Language Designation was key to ensure that all Francophone parents/guardians as well as the early learning and child care community were able to relate and access support in French that was also culturally sensitive and supportive. I believe this reality and core belief and practice has been celebrated in our Francophone community.
Thirty years ago, a compelling vision of inclusion was expressed by a diversity of voices from a two-year community consultation. A collective vision of hope was articulated in the recommendations. This hope was not a passive wish, but a list of specific actions and aspirations that would build the steps toward an equitable childcare community, one in which all children belonged. Thus, the program of Children’s Integration Support Services (CISS) was born.
Sylvie started working for CISS in October 1992. She was among the first 5 members of our team. Over the years, she has distinguished herself by participating in several projects including the creation of the CISS modules that are still offered as training in the community. Today, Sylvie is a resource consultant team leader for the bilingual CISS team. I had the privilege to interview her for our 30th anniversary and invite you to read her answers below.
Rebecca started working for CISS in September 1992. Her love for travelling motivated her to leave in 1995 to go work in Nova Scotia and she came back in 1997. She also went on a sabbatical to France in 2013-14. However, she has always found her way back home with CISS, where her true passion for inclusion resides. Rebecca is a Resource Consultant Team Leader for our South Team. To know a bit more about her journey, please read the interview I had the chance to do with her.
Marie-Josée started working for CISS in March 1992. She was the second employee to join our program and she is still with us today. Marie-Josée has a French designated position and is a well-known resource consultant in the francophone community as well as the francophone intake coordinator. She is often the first contact with our families in order to determine the needs and eligibility of the children. To learn more about her, I invite you to read her answers to our questions below.