As parents return to work, the Province is making affordable, quality child care more accessible for families in Salmon Arm by investing in more than a dozen new licensed spaces, scheduled to open in January 2021.
“As small communities like Salmon Arm begin to restart their economies in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, families need to know there is safe, quality child care close to home,” said Katrine Conroy, Minister of Children and Family Development. “This investment will help build a strong foundation for a family-friendly community where British Columbians want to work, live and raise their children.”
The Childcare BC New Spaces Fund is supporting the creation of 16 new spaces for children aged three to five years at Back in Nature Childcare Programming.
The project is a new two-storey build next to the Little Mountain Fieldhouse. The centre will work with the Shuswap Supported Childcare Development Program to make programming inclusive for children with extra-support needs. Children will have an opportunity to learn languages and access an on-site parent resource library. Hot lunches and snacks will be available and the centre will offer extended hours to help parents who work or go to school outside of traditional business hours.
“With gratitude and excitement, we’re so pleased that Back in Nature Childcare Programming has received funding to build, to expand, to enrich and provide accessibility for all children and families in Salmon Arm,” said Teresa Horsting, manager and owner. “The COVID-19 pandemic has reiterated just how important it is to connect with our natural environment. Back in Nature Childcare’s new facility will support the Waldorf philosophy and be inclusive, holistic, democratic, and embrace nature-based programming. It has been, and it is, a great pleasure to be of service to the children and families of Salmon Arm.”
Back in Nature Childcare Programming will offer support to immigrant and refugee families and provide practicum opportunities for local early childhood education students.
These new spaces in Salmon Arm 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 total to more than 17,000 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 COVID-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.
- The City of Salmon Arm has received a $25,000 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 Salmon Arm, please visit: https://shuswapchildrens.ca/our-programs/child-care-resource-referral-ccrr/