About RFC

Our Mission

Rural Family Connections (RFC) supports rural families as they guide and care for their children by providing accessible, quality early learning and childcare programs. Through this programming, we strive to enhance healthy development for a healthy start in life and success in school. Our vision is a vibrant rural community with accessible services that benefit all children, their parents and caregivers.

“Play is often talked about as if it were a relief from serious learning. But for children play is serious learning. Play is really the work of childhood.”

The RFC Team

Lee Stanistreet

Rural Family Connections Executive Director

Lee has joined our team this year as the Executive Director for Rural Family Connections.

She comes with extensive experience in the field of Early Learning. Lee has been a manager since 2007 and has worked in all areas of childcare from infant, toddler, preschool, nursery school, before and after school, summer camp and EarlyON programs.  

She is an R.E.C.E. and is currently finishing up her B.A.Sc. in Early Learning through Guelph University

Deborah Cross

RFC – Early ON Family & Child Centre Playgroup Facilitator

MCNS KinderCamp Teacher & MCNS Supply Teacher

Deborah has been a part of the Rural Family Connections family since about 2005, starting with us as a Metcalfe Home Daycare provider. As a provider, she would bring her son and her daycare children to playgroups at the Live and Learn Resource Centre. Then, in 2007 Deb accepted a position as a Resource Worker, facilitating playgroups where she has become very popular with our playgroup children.

On occasion, Deb can also be found, filling in as a supply teacher and KinderCamp Teacher at our nursery school. Deb has completed 1.5 years of her Early Childhood Education Certificate and has been a Girl Guide leader since 1985. In 2012, Deborah was presented with an Ontario Volunteer Award for 25 years service.

Nancy Dixon

Rural Family Connections Special Programs & Supply Teacher

Nancy is an Ontario Certified Teacher, with a degree in Psychology and holds current membership in the Ontario College of Teachers. She has been part of the Rural Family Connections family since 1980 when she and her family joined our Metcalfe Cooperative Nursery School. Nancy has taught with the Ottawa-Carleton District School Board and former Prescott-Russell School Board in addition to her ongoing work as a supply teacher with our Metcalfe Cooperative Nursery School. As a Resource Worker with our Live and Learn Resource Centre, Nancy has lead “Lullabies to Literacy” and “Family Math” and has also taught with our Kindergarten Readiness programs “Ready to Learn” and “School’s Cool”. A much sought-after tutor, Nancy has been helping students from JK to Grade 10 for over 10 years. Nancy also works as an Education Programmer with Upper Canada Village.



Candi Elrick

RFC – Early ON Family & Child Centre Playgroup Facilitator

Candi Elrick is a recent graduate of Algonquin College with a diploma in Early Childhood Education and a registered Early Childhood Educator.

She lives in Metcalfe with her husband and three children. She enjoys being outside with her children exploring, biking and playing at the park.

She is passionate about children’s learning and can’t wait to work with all families in the EarlyOn Community.



Erin Finlay

Metcalfe Home Daycare Home Childcare Advisor

Erin has been part of the Rural Family Connections team since 2017 working as a home child care advisor.

After graduating from high school Erin took a job as a live in nanny and soon discovered a passion for working with children and their family’s.  This job is what led her to pursue post secondary education in the childcare field.

Erin graduated as an Early Childhood Educator from Loyalist College in 1997 after completing her final placement at a daycare in Calgary, Alberta.

Erin’s experience includes operating a home daycare for 8 years when her 3 children were young and at home, site supervisor at The Learning Centre’s Before and After School program for 7 years, working in the school board as an RECE and an EA, as well as planning and supervising summer camps for school age and kinder children. 

“Children are not things to be molded, but are things to be unfolded”

                                                                                                                -Jess Lair

Leigh Gillies

Metcalfe Home Day Care Support Worker

Leigh has been with Rural Family Connections for 20 years. 

Leigh first joined our team as a Metcalfe Home Day Care child care provider, and then started, part time, as administrative assistant for Metcalfe Home Day Care.  As the organization grew Leigh’s office administration tasks & role expanded!



Heather Goelz

Rural Family Connections Admin Assistant


Heather joined the Rural Family Connections office in January 2020.

Heather partners with Leigh to complete the Office Manager Team, answering the phone and taking care of administrative tasks.


Lorna Greer

Metcalfe Cooperative Nursery School Teacher

Lorna joined Rural Family Connections as a Resource Worker at our Live and Learn Resource Centre in April 2012.  She is currently teaching at the Metcalfe Nursery School in the pre-school, toddler and KinderCamp programs.

In addition, Lorna has been involved with children’s programs, coordinating a church childcare/nursery program and teaching Sunday school. With her working and volunteer experiences, Lorna found Early Childhood Education (E.C.E.) a natural progression. As a result, Lorna received her E.C.E. diploma from St. Lawrence College in the Spring of 2016.

I love watching the children learn through play, songs and games. This is some of the most fun learning that children may ever do. It’s wonderful to be part of that.

Elsa Justice

RFC – Early ON Child and Family Centre Playgroup Facilitator + Metcalfe Nursery School Teacher

Elsa started with M.C.N.S. in the fall of 2009.

Elsa came to RFC with 5 years of experience as a kindergarten teacher in Mexico.

Elsa is a teacher with the nursery school & leads the play groups at our Osgoode Village Location.

Liz LeCain

RFC – Early ON Child and Family Centre Playgroup Facilitator

Liz is originally from the Maritimes and now nestled in just outside Osgoode with her husband, 4 kids, dogs and chickens. She is a graduate from Bishop’s and Queen’s Universities and is an elementary school teacher in Ottawa, but currently enjoying some extra time off with her family. She enjoys exploring alongside kids as they engage in a variety of play-based and outdoor learning experiences. Liz looks forward to welcoming you with a smile at the Greely, Osgoode, Kars and North Gower playgroups!

“I should ask that a gift to each child in the world be a sense of wonder so indestructible that it would last throughout a life”- Rachel Carson, The Sense of Wonder (1998)

Shelly Liston-McNaughton

Metcalfe Home Day Care Manager

Shelly joined Rural Family Connections as a Home Visitor in the fall of 2016. She brings a varied background of experience to the team including School Age Program Lead at the Learning Centre’s Before and After School Program in Winchester, and as a Child Protection Worker for The Children’s Aid Society of S.D. & G.

When her children were younger, Shelly was fortunate to be able to stay home with them and run a Home Daycare. Previous to these experiences, Shelly worked as an English Instructor for TR Leger School of Adult Alternative Education, and as a front-line worker in residential treatment homes and school programs.

Her passion for and belief that every child can flourish in a safe and nurturing learning environment is what led her to Rural Family Connections.

Julie MacArthur

Metcalfe Home Daycare Home Childcare Advisor

Julie joined Rural Family Connections in 2018 as a supply teacher with the Nursery School and began a new position as home childcare advisor in 2019. 

She has been working with children for many years including teaching in local Nursery Schools and in kindergarten classrooms.

Julie was the Director and Head Teacher of the Osgoode Cooperative Nursery School before starting her family.

Julie is an R.E.C.E. with a B.A. in Child Studies.

Allison McLaren

Metcalfe Cooperative Nursery School Manager

RFC – EarlyON Child & Family Centre Manager

Allison has been part of Rural Family Connections since 1988, when she first joined the Metcalfe Cooperative Nursery School community as a parent and executive member for 2 years.

Allison joined the staff as a Teacher in 1989 where she manages the Toddler and PreSchool programs. She is also the Director of the summer Kinder and Discovery Camp programs.

Allison has extensive experience as a teacher in the Early Learning field. As well as teaching in the M.C.N.S Toddler, PreSchool and KinderCamp Programs, Allison also teaches the Ready-to-Learn and Family Math programs, assists in the Metcalfe Home Day Care program and manages the programs under our RFC EarlyON Child & Family Centre.

Nadine van Rijswijk

Metcalfe Cooperative Nursery School Teacher

Nadine is completing E.C.E. courses through St. Laurence College. She enjoys working with children and loves to watch different personalities, cultures, and traditions thrive. As a teenager Nadine was a live-in nanny to a boy & girl, and in her early 20’s to a set of twin girls.  Before re-enrolling in school, Nadine was a bus driver for 4 years which that re-sparked her interest in working with children.

With her husband Randy, they have two wonderful daughters, Grace and Ellie. They enjoy spending family time outside with their dog Taliya.

Nadine has volunteered with Girls Guides since 2013 and really enjoys being part of the organization.  Nadine volunteers in almost anything and everything, from animals to mission meals to walking around and cleaning up garbage

Nadine’s zest for life comes from the love of her family, her love of nature and belief in the good of all people. 

Marion Scharf

RFC – Early ON Child and Family Centre Playgroup Facilitator

 Marion Scharf is a mother of three.  She has been a member of the Live & Learn EarlyON Community for the last 12 years when she first started attending Lullababies with her eldest son.  Marion has run a home daycare for the last 8 years. She has helped teach gymnastics, dance and soccer.

Marion has been facilitating Playgroups in the Park as well as Playgroups at the EarlyON centre for the last 2 and a half years. 


Work With Us