Network Child Care Services (Network) is proud to deliver to your inbox, the Organization’s February Newsletter! Please enjoy a few moments to review the brief articles and noteworthy celebrations for all families, staff, and affiliated home child care providers. We truly hope you enjoy these quick highlights as we focus on one of Network’s Child Care Services’ affiliated Home Child Care Providers as well as other events of interest for the month of February!

Connecting with Venus Abbugao, Network’s affiliated Home Child Care Provider

Venus Abbugao, Network’s affiliated Home Child Care Provider’s residence is located in the South Parkdale neighborhood in the southwest of Toronto. Her child care program is currently geared to offering care to children who are infants, but Venus’ over twenty years of experience with children of all ages has allowed her to tailor her program to meet the needs of each and every child.

In conversation with Venus, one immediately notices her incredible commitment to the children in her care as she describes her daily child care program. Toys and other hands-on materials for children’s use are readily available in her main living space within her residence. Her backyard is frequently used as an extension of her home where she is able to connect with other affiliated child care providers in her immediate area. Venus also takes pride in the number of years which she has successfully provided care to children both in Canada as well as other locations around the world. Her life-long commitment to child care has truly been her passion!

Mark Your Calendars – These Dates Are Noteworthy!

Feb 1

Happy Black History Month!

February is Black History Month or African Heritage Month, which has been celebrated in Toronto since 1979.  Toronto was actually the first municipality in Canada to recognize February as Black History Month, which honours the legacy of Black Canadians. Although February is the shortest month of the calendar year, it is also the most noteworthy from a historical viewpoint as the birthdays of both Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass have been celebrated.

Feb 2

February 2nd is Groundhog Day!

This “scientifically important” day permits the hope that the season of spring will soon be approaching. The most notable groundhog in Ontario, Wiarton Willie, will either see his shadow thus, indicating six more weeks of winter or not see his shadow forecasting an early spring.

Feb 10

February 10th is Lunar New Year!

This special New Year event is based on the lunar calendar and celebrated worldwide. It marks the observance of the first sighting of the new moon which often occurs during the months of January or February.

Feb 14

February 14th is Saint Valentine’s Day!

While this celebration may have its origins in a Roman legend, the expressions of love, kindness, and friendship using valentine cards or valentines has been occurring since the 1500’s. Regardless of its convoluted past, it is another good day to let someone special in your life know that you care about them.

Feb 15

February 15th is Canada’s Flag Day!

On this special day in 1965, our lovely red and white Canadian flag was flown for the very first time in Ottawa, Ontario. Canada’s unique flag is often recognized throughout the world for its bright red maple leaf.

Feb 19

February 19th is Family Day!

This special day has been observed in Ontario as a statutory holiday since 2008. Network Child Care Services would like to wish all families a very Happy Family Day! All of Network’s programs and services will be closed on this important day.

Feb 28

February 28th is Pink Shirt Day!

This unique day, which began in Canada in 2007, promotes the elimination of all types of bullying by the wearing of a pink shirt. This day has been formally recognized by the United Nations and is also celebrated in over twenty-five countries. Similar in nature to Pink Day which we will celebrate in April, Pink Shirt Day highlights the real need for kindness and caring of everyone through anti-bullying initiatives.

Celebrating Black History Month In Early Learning Settings – Have You Ever Heard About Mathieu Da Costa?

Recognizing and celebrating the rich and important culture of Black Canadians has been long overdue. In Canada, it wasn’t until 1995 that the Canadian House of Commons officially recognized February as Black History Month in Canada. Thankfully, the dialogue and recognition of Black Canadians had begun much earlier throughout some advanced early learning settings throughout the country, but unfortunately not all.

The challenge regarding our Canadian history or “herstory” has been simply that it is a “story”. Who has been telling the story and what the story has been about is directly disseminated to our children and our society.

Throughout Canadian historical texts over the past century, which have been required reading in Canadian schools, students have become familiar with Samuel de Champlain, the noted explorer who helped shaped early Canada in the 1600’s however, Mathieu Da Costa seemingly was not included in the story. Mathieu Da Costa was a navigator and interpreter of African-Portuguese ancestry who sailed with Samuel de Champlain in 1604, and his multilingual skills assisted with the negotiations of numerous interchanges throughout the Atlantic regions of early Canada but, his story and references to him were seemingly absent from those historical texts.

Fast forward to today’s early learning and child care settings, the importance of including all stories, particularly those from Black Canadians, as well as fiction stories depicting Black characters, is vital to continually advancing and changing the narrative.

Focusing a critical eye on the print material, which is posted on learning centre walls, as well as which books are made available on child care bookshelves, allows us to continue to include the stories of all children and families who are represented. As Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie has reminded us, we need to recognize the danger of a single story.


Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, “The Danger of a Single Story”, TED Talks, July 2009.