The morning routine will soon be a little easier for families in the New Denver area as more than 40 new child care spaces are set to open in September 2020 at the local K-12 school.
The spaces mean parents will have quality, full-time licensed child care available in their own community for the first time.
“We know that parents in rural communities have limited options when it comes to child care, and it’s no different in New Denver where there is currently only one licensed facility,” said Katrine Conroy, Minister of Children and Family Development and MLA for Kootenay-West. “This project shows how a community benefits when we work in partnership. I’m grateful to the school district for stepping up to support local families and to the Columbia Basin Trust for its contribution to make this project a reality. Together, we’re bringing more than four times more child care spaces to the area.”
The school district is receiving $492,052 through the Childcare BC New Spaces Fund and $250,000 through the Columbia Basin Trust to add 46 new child care spaces to Lucerne Elementary School. This includes 30 school-age spaces and 16 spaces for children under the age of 12. The funding will be used to turn two unused classrooms, adjacent storage and hallway space into a new child care centre.
“Goat Mountain Kids Child Care Centre is a collaborative early-years dream,” said Terry Taylor, SD 10 superintendent of schools. “The well-being of children and parents is enhanced today, providing access to high-quality, affordable and accessible child care in a small rural and remote community where no full-time child care currently exists. Every child and family matters. This initiative will allow parents to rejoin the workforce, cultivate a cadre of early childhood educators and support the growth and vibrancy of our rural communities. In short, this funding will make an immense difference for kids and community.”
The new facility will be operated by Goat Mountain School Society and will include a new outdoor play area, as well as accessible entrances and walkways. Programming will be inspired by the Reggio Emilia teaching method, which encourages children to learn through exploration and play. In addition, the centre will offer an Indigenous focus in collaboration with the Circle of Indigenous Nations Society, with activities such as nature-based learning, lessons and storytelling to help teach children about local Indigenous culture, language and traditions.
“People in the Basin have told us how critical the child-care situation can be, especially in small communities like New Denver,” said Johnny Strilaeff, president and CEO, Columbia Basin Trust. “By working with local providers and partners, we help communities find solutions that make sense for them — like re-imagining an underused space at Lucerne school. Congratulations to the Goat Mountain School Society, Arrow Lakes School District, parents, staff and volunteers in making Goat Mountain Kids Child Care a reality.”
The school district will also offer additional wraparound services, such as community workshops focused on cultural diversity, access to medical services and healthy snacks for children. In addition, supports are available to parents who are new to Canada, including information about local services and businesses, workshops to better understand Canadian customs and the child care and school system, and language classes in partnership with Selkirk College and other local agencies.
The Childcare BC New Spaces Fund is part of the Province’s Childcare BC plan and supports its commitment to give B.C. families access to affordable, quality child care when they want or need it. Since July 2018, the Province has funded more than 10,400 new licensed child care spaces through Childcare BC. More new spaces will be announced as projects are approved.
Investing in child care and early childhood education is a shared priority between government and the BC Green Party caucus and is part of the Confidence and Supply Agreement.
- The school district has one other facility at Lucerne Elementary school — the New Denver Nursery school — that offers 12 licensed preschool spaces and is open two mornings per week. It is operated by Slocan Lake Early Learning Society.
For more about Childcare BC, visit: www.gov.bc.ca/childcare
To learn more about the Childcare BC New Spaces Fund and to apply, visit: www.gov.bc.ca/childcare/newspacesfund
To find child care in a community, view the online child care map: http://maps.gov.bc.ca/ess/hm/ccf/
Child care factsheet: https://news.gov.bc.ca/18430