Meet Wild Child Coffee Project, the beverage and play cafe building community in Canada’s capital city. The space is designed to not only be enjoyed by kids of all ages, but parents and caregivers as well with a heightened approach to food and drink, drop-ins by sleep experts and musicians, an on-site early childhood educator, and even yoga sessions. Its come-as-you-are, non-judgemental vibe is meant to support caregivers of all types, in whatever season of life they’re in. We speak with Paige Watts, founder of Wild Child Coffee Project, to learn more.
Tell us about the Wild Child Coffee Project; what inspired its inception: The inspiration came from a variety of places, including a recent visit to San Diego, and many Disney Cruises as a family. It brought on a desire to create an inclusive space for parents and caregivers in Canada’s capital city, because nothing like it exists here. I wanted to create a community, not just another coffee shop.
Why this heightened approach to food, drink, and play? Because parents and caregivers still deserve a good cup of coffee without having to compromise on quality of service, and children deserve a space to learn, grow, and feel safe while doing so!
Describe the atmosphere of Wild Child; what were you hoping to achieve with the space: The Atmosphere at Wild Child, although sometimes chaotic, is organized chaos in a relaxed environment. We strive to uphold excellent customer service, cleaning up after a child spills a drink, holding the door open for a mom with twins trying to get into our space with a stroller, offering a sticker as a distraction to a child who does not want to leave. We remain calm and collected so that our customers can feed off of us and enjoy the positive vibes in our space, regardless of what is going on in their life.
You have a Registered Early Childhood Educator on staff, tell us how that works and how does it enrich the experience: Our RECE is in the play area during the week to engage with the children and support their play, so that caregivers can feel a sense of relief that there is an extra set of eyes. Our play area and materials have been carefully planned, and our RECE will have special activities during the week for all the children to discover as a drop-in style, so caregivers do not need to feel constricted to set timings. Early childhood educators are professionals who are trained in early childhood development, play-based learning, and program planning.
How does this concept help mothers who are lacking community and support during the postpartum period: Love this question. It offers a safe, non-judgemental space to be whoever you are, at whatever stage of postpartum you are experiencing. We have tried our best to keep things as simple as possible. We only have four types of flavored lattes, for example, and three types of sandwiches. We try to encourage parents, moms, dads, grandparents, to get out of the house and let go of all of the anxiety that has become North America, and take a breath. We do this through our delivery of customer service and the atmosphere we have created. We encourage everyone to come enjoy the space, no matter how big or small their little ones are!
With drop-ins from sleep experts and musicians, and on-site yoga programs; what kinds of offerings do you have, and what does the future hold for this space: The future holds amazing things for this space and the Ottawa community. In all my years in retail and social work, I have never received the amount of gratitude that I get on a daily basis from the customers that frequent our space. I knew the market was out there from personal experience and research, but I never could have imagined what this space would grow itself into in only five months. We have streamlined all our guests to drop-in on Wednesdays, so that our ECE can run her programs on a more consistent basis to keep things simple for caregivers to remember!
How has this project enhanced your own mothering experience: This project has shown me that it is okay to have bad days, it is okay to not be perfect all the time, and that I am not alone! It has reminded me to enjoy the little moments, because they pass by too quickly.