About Us

Welcome to Acorn Early Learning Centre

We provide developmentally appropriate and experiential programs for all children, while incorporating the principles of the Reggio Approach to Early Childhood Education.

We look forward to your partnership as its key in providing the best education and care for your children through best practice.

Acorn Early Learning Centre realizes the importance of good strong roots for tomorrow’s future.


Joanne Saunders, CECE.C and Amanda Douglas, CECE invite you to come and visit Acorn Early Learning Centre, to enjoy the environment, to meet the team of dedicated Early Childhood Educators, to discuss your needs.

We are dedicated to the well-being and education of all children in our care. Our program includes circle/learning time, creative art exploration, dramatic play, literacy, activities to encourage large and small muscle development, music exploration, problem solving opportunities, cognitive play such as puzzles and building toys and parent committees.

The children enjoy mostly organic meals catered by a local company, The Red Apron.
Call us so that we may show you what we can offer you and your child.

– Joanne and Amanda


Our goal is to provide developmentally appropriate and experiential programs for children who are toddler, preschool and school-age. We endeavour to achieve this by promoting the highest quality professionalism, consistency and a respectful school environment with dedicated staff that are qualified and truly care.

We believe that learning is an active process of self-construction which occurs as we; children, parents, educators and friends, go about our everyday routines and special times in the company of others. Educators treat and listen to children as individuals; competent, resourceful, curious, imaginative, and inventive, each desiring to communicate with each other and their environment.  We believe that all learning is intertwined; physical, intellectual, emotional, social, moral, aesthetic, and creative. Schools, homes and the community are all social learning environments and need to have strong partnerships to enhance the child’s learning.

We are your partners.  We each, children and adults, bring our own unique personal history. We, as educators, need to listen to, in the deepest sense, to the children’s and parent’s personal stories (perspectives), in order to make our curriculum and everyday classroom experiences meaningful. Our environment will be organized to offer rich learning opportunities connected to those experiences.

Children are invited to explore and problem solve, individually and in groups, to be involved in small and large projects, to learn and to respect their world as well as themselves and others. We are cognoscente of our responsibility to prepare children for a more formal school setting and will offer experiences that will meet that need as well. We believe that it is important for Educators of young children to continue their growth and will provide and support professional development as well as encourage independent study. This will ensure that staff are ready for the challenges of providing the most up-to-date programming and best practice for children’s optimum growth and development. We recognize the value of strong partnerships with families and the community in the education of young children and will promote opportunities for this growth.

We look forward to the opportunity of providing a place for future educators from local colleges and high schools to train and practice. Finally, we embrace the important responsibility given to us by parents, to care and love their children, to provide safe and beautiful environments for the children to learn, grow and play in, and to be your partners in this important time of their lives.


This centre is the result of parents of the Glebe and Educators committed to the families of the Glebe coming together as partners and working toward a single dedicated goal: To create a place where children will have access to high quality education and care in an environment that welcomes, respects and understands this community.

While a location had been found, much renovation had to take place, as well as many inspections for the Day Nurseries License. In the interim, many families offered rooms in their homes to be schools, welcoming other families to bring their children where educators taught and continued their work.

From May 2008 through to October of 2008, educators and parents worked together until the centre was finally licensed and opened. Many of the rooms in the centre have been named and/or dedicated to these families as they were the pioneers who gave the centre its first breath of life.

The name “ACORN” was inspired by a friend of the Executive Director. After some investigation, we understand that when the first pioneers came to Ottawa, they cut down almost all of the oak and pine trees. Ottawa soon realized their mistake and has focused on replanting these very important trees for their strength, beauty and heritage. Acorn Early Learning Centre realizes the importance of good strong roots for tomorrow’s future and continues to work by providing high quality programs for children while supporting partnership with parents and community.

Meet our team

Joanne Saunders

Executive Director

My name is Miss Joanne (Joanne Saunders), Certified Early Childhood Educator and I have been in child care since 1978. I am a retired foster parent of 20 years and have adopted 3 children as well as having 3 biological children. My training has been in many different philosophies including The Reggio Philosophy of Early Education from Italy. I have been on the Board of Directors for The Association of Early Childhood Education for 10 years in which I have been President, have taught Early Childhood Education in the Continuing Education at Algonquin College, have advocated for services for families at many different venues and remain committed to serving children and families in whatever way I can.

Acorn Early Learning Centre is my dream come true. I am thankful to the dedicated staff who have joined me as well as to the parents who have helped in so many ways. Acorn is truly a place for all of us and I look forward to proving that.

Many Smiles,
Miss Joanne

Amanda Douglas


My name is Amanda Douglas, Early Childhood Educator. I am married and a mother of two girls. My passion is working with young children during their early years. I have many years of experience working with children of all ages, twelve of which I have worked with Miss Joanne. While working as an Educator, I have gained extensive knowledge of child development and behavior guidance. I have attended several workshops geared towards observations and documentation. I consider myself to always be a learner and always look forward to new learning opportunities.

I look forward to forming a great relationship with all the children and families.

Miss Amanda

Fiorella Padoin-Castillo

Administrative Services Coordinator

Hello. I am the Administrative Services Coordinator for Acorn Early Learning Centre. I currently have two children enrolled at Acorn Early Learning Centre and I am happy to be part of this centre and look forward to meeting and working with all our parents.

Miss Fiorella

Marie Wright

Early Childhood Educator

Hi there! My name is Marie, and I am incredibly excited to join the Acorn team in the Toddler Room. After comleteing my degree in Physical Anthropology at McMaster, I made the decision to pursue a career in a field that would make me happy. I studied Early Childhood Education at Algonquin College and had the opportunity to do my final placement here at Acorn with the Preschoolers. I have been working as a supply teacher since August and was honored to be asked to come and be a part of the centre. I am a firm believer in the Reggio philosophy and what it means for our children and families. I am fully bilingual and I love music and painting and cannot wait to get to know the families better and learn something new from everyone!

Miss Marie

Casey Desilets

Casey Desilets was born in Sudbury, Ontario. From there he moved to Ottawa to study photography at Algonquin College. Casey learned quite a bit there, one thing he learned was that he was not meant to be a professional photographer. So Casey set out to do some traveling but also to learn more about himself. His first stop was to Lake Louise, Alberta. There he found one of his passions, snowboarding. Through snowboarding Casey not only understood himself better but also the world around him. This was made possible by the fact that the world flocks to Lake Louise. Casey also had the opportunity to live in Victoria, British Columbia and Perth, Western Australia. While in Perth Casey went on an excellent surfing adventure and discovered more about himself. Eventually Casey made his way back to Ottawa, but by then Casey had started to think about his future and what his career options were. After discussing it with his mother (a social worker) and his cousin (kindergarten teacher) he thought about which job of the many he worked at, he actually enjoyed, he realized that being a camp councillor and playground supervisor were his favorite. So Casey enrolled himself in Algonquin College’s Early Childhood Education Program. There Casey not only learned how to be a successful Educator but also that he is passionate about children’s development. Casey is excited to be working at Acorn. He hopes to bring his values of community, inclusion, and a strong sense of fun into the classroom. He looks forward to growing as an educator with Acorn and the children enrolled within.
Mr. Casey

Meghan Carvery

Early Childhood Educator

Hello, my name is Meghan Carvery and I am very happy to be apart of the wonderful team at Acorn Early Learning Center. I graduated from St. Lawrence College in Kingston, Ontario with a diploma in Early Childhood Education. I then decided to continue learning about education and traveled to Australia where I went to Griffith University. While attending Griffith University I got my Bachelors of Arts in Education degree as well as my teaching degree (primary). I have always been very drawn to the Reggio philosophy and the principals this philosophy is based around. I am very happy to be part of the toddler team at Acorn and look forward to helping all of the children grow to their fullest potential
Miss Meghan

Shannon Smith

Early Childhood Ecucator

Hi, my name is Shannon Smith and I’m thrilled to join the Acorn team in the Preschool Room. I’m originally from Cornwall, Onatrio but moved to Ottawa to pursue a career in a field that I love. I’m a Registered Early Childhood Educator and have been working in the field for over six years and have loved every minute of it. I have worked with all age groups from infant to school-age. I have also worked with children with various disabilities. I look forward to meeting all of the parents and working with the children of Acorn.

Miss Shannon

Maggie Lord

Early Childhood Educator

My name is Maggie and I am one of the Toddler teachers. I am so thrilled to be working in such a loving and peaceful environment here at Acorn Early Learning Centre. I graduated from St. Lawrence College in Kingston in 2009. I am so excited to be able to interact and teach your children about the Reggio Philosophy. I feel I am blessed to be able to work with children each day. Some of my hobbies when I am not at Acorn are reading and painting. I look forward to meeting all of the families throughout the year!
Miss Maggie

Ilze Cakste

Early Childhood Educator

My name is Ilze Cakste but I am known as Miss Iza at Acorn.
I have a Bachelor degree in Education and taught English to 7-13 year old children in Latvia which is my home country. I studied Early Childhood Education at Algonquin College and had my final placement at Acorn Early Learning Centre in the Preschool room in the spring of 2012. I am very glad to join the Acorn team, also because my philosophy matches with Acorn’s philosophy regarding to the ways children learn the best. I am very fortunate to work together with Miss Joanne and Miss Amanda in the kindergarten room. I enjoy listening to children’s (and adults’) stories. Also I enjoy reading, hiking, skiing and skating, performing arts, painting and photography.

I am looking forward to working with Acorn children and meeting their parents.

Miss Iza

Corianne Bell Albinati

Choir Instructor

Previously an Associate Artist and Production Assistant for Opera Lyra Ottawa, Corianne Bell Albinati made her National Arts Centre stage debut as Frou Frou in Lehar’s The Merry Widow and has since sung in numerous productions with Opera Lyra Ottawa. In addition to teaching voice and acting as musical coach and artistic director to local children’s productions of Amahl and the Night Visitors, Annie and The Music Man, she has been a frequent concert and oratorio soloist in Ottawa and throughout her native Alberta. Ms. Bell Albinati is the winner of the Anna Maria Kaufman award for vocal excellence and was the runner-up in Ottawa’s prestigious Brian Law Opera Scholarship Competition. She looks forward to having the oportunity of teaching your children in the Acorn Children’s Choir.

Miss Corianne

Miss Lisa Poushinsky

Piano Teacher

 Miss Lisa grew up in the Ottawa area where she attended an arts high school.  She has taught private art, piano, and guitar lessons to students ages 5 and up for the past 20 years and is now a certified Kindermusic teacher, teaching piano lessons to three to five year olds at the Acorn Early Learning Centre in Ottawa and rhythm and movement classes in Kemptville / Ottawa.

Miss Lisa performs regularly and tours Canada as singer/songwriter ‘L. Poushinsky’.  She is currently soprano for Ottawa’s Southminster Chamber Music Choir, director of Sainte Marguerite Bourgeoy’s children’s choir in Merrickville, Merrickville Studio 106’s music camp director, and leader of the a cappella singing group Bella Borealis.

Music lessons with Miss Lisa combine proper technique with classical to contemporary approaches to reading, writing, theory, rhythm, and performance, and are tailored specifically to meet the student’s interests and needs.

Please contact Lisa for more information at lisa.poushinsky@acornelc.ca

Miss Lisa

Daphnee Morrison

Art Teacher

Hello, my name is Daphnee Mercer. I come from a very artistic family background, and have much knowledge and experience working with children and creative design. I also have a background in Social Work where much of my knowledge stems from front line work with people from all walks of life. After my son was born I decided to predominantly focus on my love of arts and crafts, my most rewarding passion. I look forward to passing along my skills to the children of Acorn as I aspire to teach new art forms, and emphasize group and individual work. My objective is to assist in developing fine motor skills to Toddlers, Preschoolers and Kinders all while opening their horizons to the wonderful world of imagination.

Miss Daphnee