Where New Canadian Parents Find Support
Bahar arrived in Canada when her son was two. She and her Canadian husband lived and worked in England and decided that Canada was the best place to raise their family.
Originally from Cyprus, Bahar was unfamiliar with Canadian culture, and she was new to parenting. “I was nervous,” says Bahar. “I could call my mom, and I do, but she wasn’t raised here, so she couldn’t tell me how to parent in Canada.”
When Bahar went to the community centre near her Kitchener home, she asked about parenting resources. “I had so many questions about our son’s development.” The staff told her about Our Place, and she joined the Parenting in a New Society Group. Weekly, Bahar met with other parents while her son was in the next room singing songs and hearing stories with registered early childhood educators. “He loved it,” says Bahar.
Meanwhile, Bahar enjoyed learning with other parents “They were so honest, and no one judged anyone.” Bahar appreciated that parents freely shared ideas without telling people they were doing something wrong. As a non-religious Muslim, Bahar felt comfortable talking with the other parents about different cultural and religious things. “Everyone was respectful to each other.”
Bahar says she is “lucky to have found Our Place.” She especially appreciates the support of Our Place staff. When Bahar was nervous about her husband returning to work after a COVID shut-down and her son going back to school, staff members Shawna and Anneke reassured her during a Zoom call.
Anneke also guided Bahar when her son was diagnosed with weak speech muscles. He had lots to say, but he couldn’t get the words out. Anneke reassured Bahar and referred her to the KidsAbility Centre for Child Development. “My son does therapy at KidsAbility. It helps a lot.” Now four years old, her son can communicate with friends and his new kindergarten teacher. “He is very social,” says Bahar.
“I strongly recommend newcomer parents to join Our Place because they can learn about life in Canada,” says Bahar. She adds, “They can meet friends here every week.”