If Pearson closes - what happens to the co-op nursery program?

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

October 25th, 2016



Should the Halton District School Board trustees decide that the Lester B. Pearson High School should be closed and its students asked to attend M.M. Robinson instead that would bring to an end a school that was created for the community more than forty years ago when the idea of a community school was considered important.


Great way to get an idea as to just what the alphabet is for the nursery set.

The Pearson school was made even more unique when a Co-op nursery program was included. That nursery now provides classes for close to 100 children.

There are morning and afternoon sessions in a setting that will be very very hard to replicate.

Fiona Wielhouwer, with a certificate that is the equivalent to the Canadian Early Childhood Education that she earned in the United Kingdom, is the supervisor who reports to a nine parent volunteer board. That board may have a very serious and perhaps daunting task ahead of them.


Tucked in at the very back of the high school the nursery has a seperate entrance and a secure well outfitted playground.

The nursery co-op was planned as part of a school that would serve the wider community. A school the size of Pearson would normally have two gymnasiums – Pearson has three. The intention right from the beginning was to make the space available to everyone in the community.

The nursery serves as a student placement location for those who think they might want to work in the childhood care field. It is also affiliated with both Sheridan and Mohawk colleges where Early Childhood courses are given.

Fiona Wielhouwer explains that the nursery uses an enquiry based approach to the care they give the children. “We aren’t a drop and run location – we work with the parents and prepare the children for the JK and SK classes they will move on to – during their time with us the children get used to the idea of being away from Mommy for short periods of time and they learn to mix with other children.

The nursery interacts with the high school but administratively it is a separate organization. We do get help from the IT people in the high school and when we need something from the shop people they work with us.


Portables that were once necessary are now empty – a sign of the enrollment decline.

As a community school it works. Pearson was never intended as a large high school. When enrollment exceeded the capacity a bunch of portables were stuck at the front of the school – they are now empty.

When the school was created it was intended as a “lab” school – a place where different ideas would be tested. The co-op nursery in a school has worked out very well. Some of that original thinking seems to have been forgotten and now it is a matter of numbers.

There are now parents who have their children in the nursery – there was a time when they were in the nursery and then attended the high school.

The city is said to have invested some money in the school when it was built and the belief is that the Region supports the nursery financially.

There was a time when there were community clubs in the school – the place was a real community hub – that too seems to have been given up on.

Stuart Miller

Current Director of Education for the HDSB, Stuart Miller was once the vice principal at Pearson.

The school is now set out as the preferred option of the board staff for closing – the current Director of Education Stuart Miller was once the Vice principal at the school and he knows what kind of a school it is – however, his job requires him to initiate the process of determining if a school should be closed when it falls below 65% of its capacity utilization.

It is now up to the trustees to determine of the school should close – and it is up to the parents to inform the trustees as to what they want.

For the children – this week is all about pumpkins – especially the ghost pumkins.getting new - yellow

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