Where It All Began...

What is now Wild Heart Children’s Centre began in the mid-1970’s as a group of mothers who swapped child care.  These courageous women quickly realized that they were not alone in their need to connect themselves and their children to community, and organized a grass roots initiative to open a parent co-operative, incorporated as Southside Mothers’ Day Out (SSMDO) in 1976. 

The Journey

SSMDO operated a successful cooperative, providing care from 9 am to 3 pm one day each week, throughout the school year, until 2009.  At that time, the Board of Directors recognized families' needs were changing–while there was still a deep-rooted desire to remain connected to each other, the capacity to volunteer was limited, and greater care options were required. Shea was hired as the Executive Director, with a vision of offering flexible and responsive child care that remained community-focused.

Between 2009 and 2022, SSMDO continued to evolve. Responding to the needs of families, hours of operation were extended and flexible part-time and full-time care options, infant care and out-of-school care were added. 

In 2018, we took on re-languaging our values.  As we worked with families, children and community, we came to understand that the name Southside Mothers’ Day Out was no longer a match and we began our re-naming journey, becoming Wild Heart Children’s Centre in 2022


When one of the teachers took the time to allow my child the creative space to engage in a story,

and then create (over weeks) some artwork that went with it. For my 3yr old, the cognition and planning that went into this project was pretty amazing, and the fact that this carried through for weeks was remarkable. We still have the piece framed in my daughter’s room.

Parent, 2011

When my daughter attended, I loved the mixed age groupings as she has no siblings.

I liked that they could move from one room to the other, and I enjoyed observing the program on my parent volunteer day. I love that I've experienced SSMDO [WHCC] over the last 22 years, first as a parent, then as an educator. I've enjoyed seeing it evolve as parents' needs have changed, from a mom’s' day out program to a child care centre with a bit more traditional schedule, but still offering flexibility. The one thing that has never changed is SSMDO's [WHCC's]focus on the child and the child's needs and interests as well as the focus on connecting with families. There's an underlying philosophy that has not changed in 22 years.

Parent, then Crew Member, 2000 - 2022

I remember we had a day where we watched a video about astronauts,

and we got to eat “astronaut food” like freeze-dried strawberries, and learn about space and what astronauts do. It must have been fun because I still remember it today!

Adult memory of attending as a child from 2000 - 2003

I cherish all of my memories of SSMDO

–my day to day interaction with children and colleagues, coaching from Shea and Chanelle, PD days, family events, curriculum nights…

Crew member, 2014 - 2020

What was important to me was that I knew my child was safe

and getting excellent care during her time there. Shea was always willing to meet with me, address any concerns I had and take the time to know me and my daughter. Our family had been through some very traumatic issues prior to her attending, and it was extremely important to me that her sense of security was first and foremost with the staff–it was what she needed developmentally. The program not only gave my child an opportunity to work through and meet her developmental milestones–it was bigger than that for us – the program allowed us one of our avenues to rebuild our lives.

Parent, 2011 - 2014

As a stay-at-home mom, with no family living in Edmonton,

SSMDO [WHCC] was a perfect way for my children to get a structured day care experience while giving me a bit of time for me!

Parent, 2006 - 2009