How Eagle Lake First Nations Early Childhood Center Launched HiMama During COVID-19

Technology has become an invaluable tool to keep child care communities connected during the COVID-19 pandemic. In this customer case study, we learn about how this early childhood development center has adapted after launching the HiMama app and how they’ve put the Activities Database to good use.

Center Name: Migisi Sahgaigan (Eagle Lake) First Nations Early Childhood Development Center
Location: Migisi Sahgaigan, Ontario 
Supervisor: Dawna Brignall 
Total classes: 2
Total capacity: 26 
Total staff: 7
Favorite HiMama features: Messaging Center & Activity Database

Q: Could you give us some background on your center? 

We are an Early Childhood Development Center operating on a First Nation, for the community of Migisi Sahgaigan near Thunder Bay. We serve our local community and are licensed for 26 kids total in the toddler and preschool age groups. It’s a tight knit community and we really miss the children and families that we work with!

Q: How has COVID-19 affected your center? 

We’ve been on lockdown since March Break. No one is allowed on site and hasn’t been in 2 months. All of our materials are left there and we’ve all been working remotely. It was quite a change of plans as we were getting ready to keep the center open during March Break for the first year ever and we were really excited to launch the HiMama app that week too. We’ve had to learn on the go and adapt to the situation. 

Q: How did the parent community respond when quarantine started? 

Well, we are now working with a lot with stay-home parents! The biggest question we got at the beginning was definitely: “So, what do you guys normally do with the kids all day?” 

In response to that, we would send things out on Monday mornings to help parents prepare for the week and the Activities Database was a helpful resource that parents could use at home. Keeping to a routine during lockdown is definitely challenging, but it’s a pretty important thing to do. 

Q: So, what was the experience like launching HiMama just as the lockdown was starting? 

Honestly, I was very surprised with how my staff and parents took to the app on their own. Before HiMama, we used Facebook to communicate with our parent community and they are used to that. We’re using a combination of both HiMama and Facebook so that everyone is properly notified of things, but I’m now getting parents emailing me saying that they’re on the app and figuring it out. It’s an adjustment for sure, but easier than I thought it would be!

Q: Could you tell us a little more about this picture? 

Umbrella Coffee Filter Activity in practice

Yes! My husband and I were driving around the other day and we saw this on the door of our Director of Education’s house. I immediately messaged him and he said that his wife and kids had used the Umbrella Coffee Filter Activity from the Activity Database and put it up on their door for people who pass by. It was really special to see the activity brought to life like that and we’ve been sharing the activities with other parents too!

Access easy, fun and free activities for all ages  that you can send home to your families while social distancing during COVID-19. How are you keeping connected with your families at home? We’d love to hear from you in the comments! 

HiMama enables invaluable parent communications for thousands of daycare centers across North America just like yours. Learn more about the app with a FREE tour!

Carmen Choi

Carmen is the Marketing Coordinator and Preschool Podcast Manager on the HiMama team. She's been working with childcare business owners and consultants for 3 years. She is passionate making connections that empower the ECE Community through knowledge-sharing to support better outcomes for children, their families, and society!