As parents return to work, the Province is making affordable, quality child care more accessible for families in Nanaimo by investing in 326 new licensed spaces at three facilities.
“Families in Nanaimo have been struggling for far too long to find quality care in their community,” said Katrina Chen, Minister of State for Child Care. “These new licensed child care spaces will support parents returning to work, especially as we transition out of this difficult time. Families will have access to quality care, as well as extra resources and supports for their entire family.”
With support from the Childcare BC New Spaces Fund, the Childcare Centre at Vancouver Island University (VIU) is creating 75 spaces, including 12 infant/toddler spaces, 50 spaces for children aged three to five years and 13 spaces for school-age children. Elders on campus at VIU will consult on the centre’s curriculum to ensure children learn about Indigenous cultures, traditions and history.
The new, accessible building will function as a child care centre and a training hub where students in programs, including early childhood education, social work, nursing and dental hygiene, will be offered a practicum, providing both parents and children with these services. The university expects the new facility to be completed by fall 2022 and open to families in early 2023.
The Childcare BC New Spaces Fund is supporring the creation of 131 new spaces - including 36 infant/toddler spaces, 25 spaces for children aged three to five years, 20 preschool spaces and 50 spaces for school-aged children - at Inquiring Little Minds. The centre will offer culturally safe programming committed to sharing Indigenous voices and perspectives, with children taught the Hul’q’umi’num language. A meal program able to accommodate dietary needs, such as allergies, vegan/vegetarian preferences and celiac disease, will be offered. Flexible programming allowing children to follow the same routines they have at home will help build independence and confidence through activities such as yoga, art, cooking and music.
The inclusive and accessible centre will offer a parent room and workspace where new mothers can breastfeed their children while they work, as well as educational evenings for parents to discuss topics such as nutrition, financial planning and promoting literacy at home. Emergency drop-in care is also available for children with additional support needs and families in crisis. The centre expects to open in November 2020.
With support from the Province, Core Education Fine Arts (CEFA) Early Learning Nanaimo is creating 120 new spaces, including 36 infant/toddler spaces and 84 spaces for children aged three to five years. The centre, which opened in December 2019, offers a curriculum that educates children academically, socially, emotionally and physically. Children develop lifelong skills through core subjects such as reading, science and math, as well as fine arts, including drama, music and yoga.
Along with the new licensed spaces, CEFA Early Learning offers workshops for young parents on topics like communication skills, positive parenting and nutrition. A professional chef creates nutritious meals and snacks for children, and families are able to take home meals.
“Three-hundred-plus new child care spaces for Nanaimo mean children get strong foundations and local families get a break on costs,” said Sheila Malcolmson, MLA for Nanaimo. “I love that some of these new child care spaces offer supports for their whole family, like nutrition workshops and dental services.”
These new spaces in Nanaimo are part of the fastest creation of child care spaces in B.C.’s history. They were included in March 2020’s milestone announcement of 13,000 new spaces the Province has funded since July 2018.
An additional 4,100 spaces, funded through the 2017 Budget Update and the Early Learning and Child Care agreement with the Government of Canada, takes the total to more than 17,000 new licensed spaces since July 2017.
Since launching in February 2018, the Childcare BC plan has helped parents save almost $500 million through the Affordable Child Care Benefit (ACCB) and Child Care Fee Reduction Initiative (CCFRI). Over 69,500 children have been approved for ACCB benefit plans since the start of the program. Currently, over 61,000 licensed child care spaces are approved to receive CCFRI funding.
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.
Patricia O’Hagan, dean, faculty of health and human services, VIU –
“With this new centre, VIU is answering the call to provide more high-quality child care on campus, with a goal of extended hours so that VIU students and parents have a place for their children while they attend classes. With 75 new spaces for children ages 0-12 years old, the centre will offer parents who are learning and working at VIU a desperately needed service. We will support our local Indigenous and underserved community members by focusing on the health promotion and well-being of children and by addressing known inequities in the social determinants through delivery of quality, accessible and affordable child care.”
Alisha Neumann, president, Inquiring Little Minds –
“We are excited to have this opportunity to strengthen the city’s economic growth by supporting Nanaimo families. Inquiring Little Minds provides an essential service that enables local parents to be active in the workforce and training for staff to become well-trained educators.”
Sara Najafi, owner, CEFA Early Learning Nanaimo –
“We are thrilled to receive support from the Province and open this new early learning facility in Nanaimo. CEFA’s curriculum educates children, not only academically but socially, emotionally and physically. Each aspect of the CEFA curriculum provides knowledge and stimulation to a child's brain in different ways. We are thankful to have received this funding, as it has given us additional support to provide our students with the supplies and equipment needed for their development.”
- As the Province moves towards its “new normal” under COVID-19, child care projects may see unexpected delays.
- Once operational, child care providers will be required to follow guidelines provided by the Ministry of Health and BC Centre for Disease Control to keep staff and the families they serve safe and to limit the risk of transmission.
- The City of Nanaimo, the City of Parksville, the District of Lantzville, the Regional District of Nanaimo and the Town of Qualicum Beach are sharing a $125,000 grant through the Union of British Columbia Municipalities’ Community Child Care Planning Grant Program to help create a long-term child care plan to support families in the community.
- To date, the Province has invested more than $19 million to provide nearly 12,000 early childhood educators with a $1-per-hour wage enhancement, which increased to $2 per hour in April 2020, to better recognize the important work they do.
More information on health and safety standards for child care, plus the latest COVID-19 related child care information is available at: www.gov.bc.ca/ChildCareCovid-19Response
For more about Childcare BC, visit: www.gov.bc.ca/childcare
To learn more about the Childcare BC New Spaces Fund, visit: www.gov.bc.ca/childcare/newspacesfund
To find child care in your community, view the online child care map: http://maps.gov.bc.ca/ess/hm/ccf/
For more information on child care in Nanaimo, visit: https://pacific-care.bc.ca/