Chet Greason, Gazette staff
The YMCA of Stratford-Perth announced this week the closure of its Early Learning and Development Centre in Shakespeare.
CEO Mimi Price says the decision was precipitated by the implementation of full-day junior and senior kindergarten, which took full effect this past September, as well as general changes in the country's demographics.
"There's just not as many people having children," she said. "This is something we're seeing all across the province, not just Perth County … schools have seen a decrease as well.
"The population is aging. When you put two and two together, it makes sense."
Price says the decision to close the centre was not devastating; parents were given four months notice and, should they still desire such services as provided by the YMCA, similar programs are located in nearby Stratford, New Hamburg, and Tavistock.
"Whatever's closest and most convenient for them," she notes.
The YMCA took over the facility in 2009 when the former Shakespeare Day Care Centre ceased operation.
"The YMCA was able to fulfill that request and serve the needs of the community," reads a press release from the organization. However, "With the addition of full day learning, the need for preschool (ages three to five) care is no longer necessary as these children are now in school."
The press release adds that the YMCA's before and after school program at Sprucedale Public School and the day camp program in Shakespeare will continue to operate.
The closure of the Early Learning and Development Centre will be effective starting June 27.