Cape Breton Family Place Programs

Because Family Place continues to grow and develop, and because parents, grandparents, and other child care providers continue to let us know what kinds of supports, programs, and resources will best meet their needs, our programs are ever changing. Each county produces a monthly calendar to highlight programs that are available that month and to showcase upcoming programs. Staff are always pleased to be able to provide all who call or drop by one of the locations with a current list of programs that are available. Requests for programs that are not currently being offered are recorded for both waiting lists and future ideas for new programs. The following section outlines programs that are currently available. All programs are not active at the same time, and all are not available in all areas. Participants and other agency staff are encouraged to call their local office, discuss program needs, and request a copy of the monthly calendar that details current program activity.

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A Simple Gift – How Learning Begins

A program designed to assist parents in understanding the importance of an infant’s attachment relationship with parents, particularly during the first year of life. It uses the ideas of attachment theory and research to focus on different ways that parents and caregivers may respond to infants’ cues. Negative emotions (anger, sadness, fear, jealousy) and the difficult behaviours that may result (temper tantrums, whining) are normal in young children. Research has shown that not learning to manage negative emotions in the early years may result in later problems. This program focuses on helping parents teach their young children how to understand their difficult feelings and express these feelings in ways that are socially appropriate. It focuses on the bond between parent and child, helping children cope with their emotions and helping parents develop their own parenting style.

Active Parenting for Stepfamilies

Finding a partner was the easy part! Now, as a parent in a stepfamily, a parent faces a whole new set of challenges as well as all of the old ones. This program offered guidance and support on topics such as Coping with Loss and Healing, Blending Two Family Histories, Merging Values and Traditions, Setting Boundaries, Building New Relationships, Transferring Authority, and a host of other challenges. This program provides the roadmap for making the stepfamily journey a joyful adventure.

Baby Building Club

Baby Building Clubs (Group and Home Visiting) – A prenatal experience for expectant moms, this program is offered in a group setting in some areas and through home visiting in other areas. Expectant moms have the opportunity to talk with other moms and/or staff and share experiences along the nine-month journey into parenthood. Participant driven, group sessions are facilitated by both Family Place and Public Health Services staff in the Cape Breton Regional Municipality. Family Place staff offer home visits in Inverness County with group sessions happening in Port Hawkesbury and other areas throughout the county on an as-needed basis. Supplements are available to the moms that participate in this program as a means to increase their ability to access nutritionally sound food during their pregnancy.

Baby Talk Programs

Informal opportunities for parents, child care providers, and their littlest ones (infants 0-24 months) to come together and enjoy safe, friendly, developmentally appropriate play environments. The program involves playtime as well as opportunities for learning and sharing information among parents and staff.

Babysitting Certification

Provides information on what every babysitter should know. Babysitting is one of the few jobs a person can get at a young age and, like any other job, a person needs to learn how to do it well. After taking this course, young people feel confident that they can keep kids safe, secure and happy while they are in their care.

Book Bag Program

A family literacy program for children between the ages of three and five years of age along with their parents or child care providers. The group meets, reads a story together, and shares in a related craft activity. The program ends with the children selecting books to take home for a week and return these books during the following session.

Breastfeeding Support Group

Share and learn breastfeeding information along with other breastfeeding mothers and their babies. Our weekly gatherings include healthy snacks and social time too. Dads and/or other support persons welcomed.

Building Connections

Connections is a group intervention for mothers and children.  The Connections program has two main objectives.

  • To present a thorough background to the issue of family violence, parenting and substance use; and
  • To present a six week group model for working with mothers experiencing or with a history of experiencing violence in relationships.

The Connections group helps mothers think about family violence and its impacts on their use of alcohol and other substances, parenting, and children’s development. We provide key messages, step-by-step implementation, worksheets, facilitator information sheets, and other information sheets for each of the six weeks of the group.

Car Seat Installations/Presentations

Since injuries sustained in motor vehicle collisions are a leading cause of death for Canadian children, an important part of injury prevention work is to facilitate child restraint systems presentations and installations. The majority of these injuries are predictable and preventable. Technicians trained by the Child Passenger Association of Canada work to increase community awareness and knowledge of the correct use of child restraint systems and seat belts. Technicians facilitate presentations for groups within the community and/or facilitate one-on one training sessions to teach parents to choose the appropriate children restraint system, secure their child in these systems, and install their child restraint systems correctly.


Common Sense Parenting

Discipline is a very complex issue. Quite often, parents may already have effective methods—however; one can never have enough tools, because each child is unique. This is a practical training program that shares with parents a wide range of effective, positive discipline skills.

Dads Support Group – Dads Are Parents Too!

A weekly fathering group geared towards dads and male caregivers. The dads choose topics related to parenting issues that are relevant to them. Topics may include but are not limited to discipline, nutrition, stress management and co-parenting.

Early Childhood Systemic Training for Effective Parenting (STEP)

Early Childhood STEP is offered in a group setting over the course of seven sessions. In a group, parents and caregivers provide encouragement to each other. They share concerns and learn that their problems are often not unique. Through discussion, they become more aware that their own reactions and attitudes may have unintentionally influenced their children’s unacceptable behaviours. With practice and mutual support and encouragement they work on building their parental capacities. Topics include Understanding Young Learners, Understanding Young Children’s Behaviour, Building Self Esteem in the Early Years, Listening and Talking to Young Children, Helping Young Children Learn to Cooperate, Discipline for Young Children, and Young Children’s Social and Emotional Development.

Emergency Preparedness For Families – A Common Sense Approach

A four week program that explores the reality of emergency situations arising in our communities and how families can become prepared by developing their own emergency plans. Over the course of the program participants are provided with a number of items to get their emergency kits started. Program also provides a handy listing of how to gather these items while on a restricted budget.


Enhanced Home Visiting

One of the key services of Public Health Service’s Healthy Beginnings program this program is available to parents of new babies who are identified as wanting and benefiting from some extra supports as they leave the hospital with their newest little ones. The program works with families during the first three years of their children’s lives. It is offered by a friendly, experienced community visitor who provides support in participant’s homes. Staff can assist with issues in prenatal care, stress management, parenting concerns and healthy lifestyle choices. The Enhanced Home Visiting program has a referral process that is led by Public Health Services and is available throughout Cape Breton Island.

Family Place Mother Goose Program

Group experiences for parents, child care providers, babies and young children focusing on the pleasure and power of sharing rhymes, songs, and stories together. So much learning takes place while focusing on fun for all – laughing, playing and listening to stories. The program offers an opportunity to further develop parent-child attachment and positive bonding.

First Aid/CPR Training

A program offered to parents, childcare providers and day care staff that teaches Emergency First Aid and CPR training. Participants are fully certified and receive a certificate upon the successful completion of this program.


First Steps Parenting

A ten week parenting program for parents and their newborns. First Steps is designed to help new parents with the basic parenting skills so necessary in that first year. Mom, dad and baby are encouraged to attend. Topics covered include developmental milestones, feeding, bathing and changing, illness, play, safety, infant stimulation, and stress. It’s a hands on experience where much of the learning is “learning by doing”.

Handle with Care

Handle with Care is a simple interactive program to help parents and caregivers, including those who work in early childhood settings, to promote the mental health of young children from birth to 6 years.  Handle with Care is based on a number of important assumptions about mental health:

    • Mental health, or social and emotional well-being, is a precious resource for all children.
    • Mental health is part of our overall health. It’s about:
      • How we feel, think, and behave
      • How we cope with the ups and downs of everyday life
      • How we feel about ourselves and our life
      • How we see ourselves and our future
      • How stress affects us
      • How we deal with negative things that happen in our life
      • Our self-esteem or confidence
    • Supporting children’s mental health is an everyday aspect of health care, just as we support healthy bodies by ensuring children eat well, exercise and get enough sleep.

Handle with Care uses a strengths-based approach that assumes every parent and caregiver has problem-solving skills, potential resources, and wants what’s best for the children in their lives.

Healthy Moms, Healthy Babies Smoking Cessation Program

A 10-12 week program specifically designed as a harm reduction/quit smoking program for prenatal women and women with very young children. The program focuses on education regarding the effects and impacts of smoking, triggers, stress reduction techniques, readiness, etc. The program provides incentives by way of “free give aways” each week for participating women

Heart Smart Cooking

A program designed to help parents and caregivers learn how to make healthy food choices for their families without going broke. Recipes are shared, new foods are tried, and handy tips for stretching that grocery dollar are discussed. The focus is on healthy choices that are available within a limited budget.


How to Talk So Kids Will Listen and Listen So Kids Will Talk

A six week parenting program that offers parents and caregivers effective and innovative suggestions on how best to communicate with children. Topics include Helping Children with Feelings, Engaging Cooperation, Alternatives to Discipline, Encouraging Autonomy, New Ways to Praise, and Freeing Children from Roles.

Kids Have Stress Too

A six week parenting program that is designed to help parents and caregivers better understand stress and to help them teach their children ways to manage it.


Learning Language and Loving It

This program is designed to help facilitators understand a child’s language development and communication skills through interaction and information. Facilitators learn how to encourage children’s language development and communication skills in a fun and interactive atmosphere. Training involves up to eight group sessions plus video taped practice sessions using the techniques discussed.

Maggie’s Magic Cupboard

This nine week program will provide participants with opportunities to share knowledge and increase skills related to cooking, eating healthy, food safety, and saving money on food. Participants prepare a full meal each week, participate in a guided grocery store tour, and are provided with a low cost recipe book at the end of the program. The joy of making mealtime a special time for families is demonstrated as the participants have the opportunity to sit and enjoy the meal they create each week.

Music & Movement

This is an eight week active music and movement program for children ages two to five years. It promotes family-based physically active living. The program provides an opportunity for adult and child to participate together in a positive and fun early learning experience. Children learn to build on many skills such as listening, speaking, counting, singing, moving and participation in a group as we incorporate musical instruments and lots of movement into this energetic program.

Nobody’s Perfect

A program that provides an opportunity for parents to meet weekly to discuss parenting joys and challenges. Participants gather and chat about all the different ways they can work on raising happy, healthy children. It is also a great venue for sharing the challenges of parenting and receiving information on topics that are of concern to parents of young children. Basic health and safety topics are a central focus for this program.

Parent Education Support Group

This supportive parent/caregiver group provides a relaxed, accepting environment where parents/caregivers share information, techniques and challenges, and learn new approaches to parenting. Weekly sessions provide information about specific topics concerning parenting or child development. Topic areas are determined by parent/caregiver interest.


Parenting Journey Home Visiting Program

This program offers the services of a friendly, experienced home visitor to visit families with children from ages three to sixteen years. Staff support families in a variety of ways. They may offer support with stress management, parenting issues and challenges, housing, food security, discipline, accessing community resources, meeting basic needs, budgeting, healthy lifestyle choices, school-based issues and so forth.

Personal Stress Management

This is a four to six week program for parents offering easy to follow steps that will help participants identify stress and healthy ways of dealing with it. Topics include Introduction to Stress, Stress Hardiness, Insomnia, and Productive and Unproductive Responses to Stress.


Play Groups

Informal opportunities for parents, grandparents, child care providers and children to come together and enjoy a safe, friendly, developmentally appropriate play environment where they can enjoy each other’s company. The program involves free play, craft time, circle time and snack time.

Play with a Purpose

This early literacy program is six weeks in length. Children need a whole foundation of knowledge before they are ready to read. Parents, teachers, or caregivers and their children (0-6) have an opportunity to focus on boosting their child’s language development and literacy skills. Children and adults will listen to a story, practice the concepts in that story and make a similar story of their own to take home and share with their family and friends.

Play Your Part Parenting

The program builds its foundation on the premise that what happens to a child within their first years of life will play a large role in influencing the path that they will follow as adults. There are a wide variety of hands-on activities, social support, coping skills evaluation, and on-site structured childcare. The program is divided into four components broken down to focus materials on developmental ages and stages of early childhood.

Positive Parenting

A program for parents to talk about and learn to prevent and/or respond appropriately to discipline issues and concerns. It covers topics such as Your Role as a Parent, Children’s Roles, Children’s Emotional and Physical Health, Encouraging Positive Behavior, Discouraging Negative Behavior, Dealing with Tantrums and Taking Care of You, the Parent.

Read With Me/Lire Avec Moi

Family literacy programs for children ages 3 – 5 years and their parents/caregivers. The program consists of story time, songs, finger-plays, crafts as well as a book and activities to take home and enjoy throughout the week. The program is available in French in the Port Hawkesbury/Richmond County area.

Resource Libraries and Clothing Rooms

To increase community access to materials that help to meet the basic needs of young children and families libraries of developmentally appropriate books and rooms overflowing with children’s clothing are available for use by local families.

Roots of Empathy

Roots of Empathy delivers an innovative classroom-based parenting program that aims to reduce aggression through the fostering of empathy and emotional literacy to school children at the Grade Primary or Grade One level. It provides an opportunity for children to observe the growth and development of a newborn over a nine month period. Along with a monthly visit from a local family, the program also involves a monthly pre and post baby visit. The program facilitator works hand-in-hand with the classroom teacher.


Siblings Without Rivalry

A parenting program that offers parents skills to help their children get along. Participants learn and share how to deal with their children’s negative feelings toward each other, how to treat their children equally and still be fair, how to free their children from harmful roles, and how to respond helpfully when their children fight.

STARSS – Start Thinking About Reducing Second-hand Smoke

An approach that is encouraged for staff to work with families heightening their awareness about children’s exposure to second hand smoke (SHS), this program supports parents and caregivers to reduce such exposure. The program can be offered informally, with minimal interventions, or more formally through either group or individual sessions. The ultimate goal of the STARSS program is to have adults using tobacco outside and away from their children while ensuring that the children remain safe and properly supervised at all times. Family Place promotes this program and provides training to other service providers on the use of the STARSS approach.

Stay, Play & Learn

This ongoing program offers a variety of age appropriate toys and equipment that promote interactive learning, literacy, language, science discovery and concepts of math. A nutritious snack is offered. The program consists of activities, games and physical movement that are designed to promote positive, meaningful and fun experiences with your child to further develop early learning.


A story sack includes a good children’s book and lots of activities to bring reading to life. It is a fun way for children and adults to read together. Children play an active role as they work with the characters and materials that they see in the story. Story sacks are a great way to support literacy. This program is offered in a variety of ways – as part of existing programs such as Read with Me, Readiness to Learn or Play Groups; as a stand-alone series of sessions; or during special times of the year or at special events within the community.

Streetproofing Your Child

A session for parents of children who are entering school, this program focuses on understanding stranger danger and helping parents and children increase their awareness and preparation for the naturally growing levels of independence as children grow older.

Tools for a Healthy Family

A program that helps parents build and share the parenting skills they have as well as learn new skills for living a healthy lifestyle. Components include physical activity, low cost cooking, and stress management.

Tumblebugs Program

The Tumblebugs Program is a ten week program for children ages 3 ½ – 5 years and their parents or caregivers. Join us for a fun filled afternoon that includes songs, rhymes, basic gymnastics and physical activity. Children and adults should wear comfortable clothes and a pair of sneakers. The program focuses on family-based physically active living experiences and how they can be incorporated into the daily lives of young families.

Volunteer Training Programs

In order to involve as much of the community as possible in the programs and services of Family Place, we have implemented structured training programs for volunteers. The six training sessions and the user manual provided will allow for greater participation of volunteers in the activities of the Centre. Both group and individual programs are available.

You Make The Difference TM

A ten week program for parents to learn how to interact with their children in ways that promote the parent-child relationship and foster social and language development. The program provides reading resources to the families involved. Video taping is used to help show concepts in action. Participants receive a copy of their video tape at the end of the program as a keepsake of their experience with their child.

You’re A Better Parent Than You Think

A parenting program that offers parents and caregivers the opportunity to come together and brainstorm solutions to common parenting challenges. Topics are selected by each group so are different each time the program is run as the program is tailored to the needs of the group. Common topics include Communication, Discipline, Self Esteem, Stress, Child Development, and Parenting Philosophy. This program is delivered in six weekly sessions.