As parents return to work, the Province is making affordable, quality child care more accessible for families in Kamloops by investing in more than 40 new licensed spaces.
“COVID-19 has changed the landscape of our province, and now more than ever, access to quality, inclusive child care is vital for helping parents get back to work and restarting our economy,” said Katrine Conroy, Minister of Children and Family Development. “Working with the school district means that we can move quickly to meet the growing demand for high-quality early learning in Kamloops and help ensure a smooth transition for children as they move from early learning into their first years of school.”
With support from the Childcare BC New Spaces Fund, School District 73 (Kamloops-Thompson) is partnering with the Kamloops Child Development Centre (KCDC) to create 42 new licensed child care spaces at KCDC, taking the total number of spaces at this location to 159 spaces. These new spaces include 12 infant/toddler spaces, 17 spaces for children aged three to five years, and 13 school-age spaces. The district expects to complete this project by summer 2020.
“Families in Kamloops-Thompson shouldn’t have to face long wait-lists to access child care. That’s why our government is undertaking the fastest creation of spaces in the province’s history,” said Rob Fleming, Minister of Education. “As part of our plan, we’re making it easier for schools to operate child care, ensuring children enjoy child care in school facilities close to home.”
Alison Sidow, superintendent, School District 73, said: “Our district is pleased to be able to continue to partner with the Ministry of Children and Family Development and the Kamloops Child Development Centre to provide much-needed daycare and after-school programming in our community. The KCDC is a long-serving, well-respected provider of programs and services that ensure our most vulnerable children have continuity of care until they transition to district schools.”
The centre offers a nature-based program, with children spending the majority of their time outside, often taking walks along the local river or around nearby McDonald Park. The curriculum will teach children about Indigenous cultures, with Elders visiting for storytelling and traditional drumming. Children will also have the opportunity to learn about science, math, drama, music, arts and culture. Supports are available for families who are new to Canada, as well as for Indigenous families and those with extra support needs.
“KCDC was relieved and excited for the funding with the creation of 42 more spaces,” said Helen Blair, director of education for the Kamloops Child Development Centre. “The new spaces mean we will not have to ask parents to find new child care when they age up to the next age group. We will be able to place infants that have been on the wait-list. This announcement will give our parents peace of mind.”
These new spaces in Kamloops are part of the fastest provincewide 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 provincial 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.
- As the Province moves towards its “new normal” under COVD-19, child care capital builds 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.
- KCDC is one of more than 50 Childcare BC Universal Prototype Sites, providing 117 child care spaces for no more than $10 a day to local families. These new spaces are separate from the prototype site program.
- 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 Kamloops, visit the Kamloops Early Years Centre: www.kamloopsy.org/ccrr-eyc.htm