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Carrie Whalen, an award winning fine arts and fashion design graduate

Carrie Whalen-Morin is a Kingston girl at heart-having lived here since she was two years old and what better place to be than a city known as an artist`s town. Carrie attended St. Lawrence College and studied fine arts and fashion design, garnering many awards for her fashion creations. She represented Canada internationally at the Air France competition in Paris, France and placed fourth internationally and first for Canada. She worked for a short time in London, England for Bella Freud-Sigmund Freud's great-granddaughter who had her own fashion house.

After returning to Kingston she took a business course at St. Lawrence College and received a $48,000 start up grant for a business she started called The Canadian Designers Co-op. The co-op was a fashion incubator with production facilities that allowed designers to produce their designs and sell them in a boutique upfront. She worked at the co-op for four years and during that time held fundraisers (The birth of Y.A.K. Camps) to supplement the co-op's income.

"I wasn't making a lot of money so I started doing art camps during March break and during the summer," she said.
Her YAK (Young Artists of Kingston) summer camps proved to be extremely popular and are still going strong-this year will mark the 18th summer. She also offered art camps over March Break, on PA days and after school.

Things just keep getting bigger and better for Carrie; she now runs a day care with the help of childcare provider Joanna, called the Village Garden Daycare located at 716 King Street West (the old stone church located next to Tim Horton's in Portsmouth Village). Running the daycare keeps her so busy she no longer has the time for PA days-but not to worry March Break and summer camps are still on the go, in fact she has just finished planning out this summer's camps-25 of them held at three different locations.

Carrie-who along with husband Jon Morin-is parent to children Darragh,14, Aoife-Bean,7, and Tuile-Fionuala,5 is a proponent of attachment parenting.
"I breastfed and homeschool my children- and I like my kids to be exposed to a lot of different things, have a lot of creative opportunities and have lots of freedom to explore whatever it is they are interested in," she said.
She extends that philosophy to caring for the five children who attend the daycare-allowing them to experience life to the fullest.
The daycare space is nothing short of stunning- a big beautiful open space with original wide plank wood floors, hight ceilings and stained glass windows above that let in lots of natural light. Children enjoy a wide selection of natural wood toys, thousands of books and beautiful games, and of course art. The money generated from summer camps allows Carrie to invest in a lot of nice art equipment.

"It is a very homey and cozy atmosphere. It has this nice wholesome natural feeling to it, and when you walk in there is a big commercial fridge with a glass door and you can see all this beautiful food," she said.

It is a lucky child indeed who gets to eat at this daycare. Organic and locally grown or sourced foods are used as much as possible including eggs collected from chickens kept on site, meats from the Kingston-based Seed to Sausage Company, dairy from the Limestone Organic Creamery and preserved local-organic harvests for winter and fresh local-organic produce in the growing season. Carrie makes fresh soups and stews and homemade bread every week for the kids as well.

Carrie and Jon have been organic gardening now for 7 years at the daycare space and now on a local farm as well as there garlic production is now up to 40,000. heads this coming summer. Carrie and Jon preserve lots of their harvest for cooking during the year for their family as well as for The Village Graden Daycare.

The daycare is much like any other in terms of structure-the kids have free play, nap time and go out for a walk in the big Denmark made Winther quad strollers when the weather is nice. There is one thing that for those who haven't heard of it seems pretty amazing! Potty training is done using the EC or Elimination Communication method which involves putting a child on the potty at specific times and prompting them to go to the bathroom by making a urination sound (similar to Pavlov's dog).

"One little girl came to us when she was seven months old and we had her pretty much potty trained within a couple months and her mom was really surprised. Another child who came to us last September is almost totally potty trained while at the daycare and her parents are just amazed. I don't think there's any other day care that does that," said Carrie.

The Village Garden Daycare is undeniably a gem and many parents are eager to get their child through the door. There are over 40 children on the wait list, but law states that unlicensed daycare can take no more than five children not including your own. "I would love to get the daycare licensed because we are in such huge demand and it would allow for more children to be brought in," said Carrie.