Families in Richmond will soon have access to 157 new licensed child care spaces as part of the Province’s ongoing commitment to increase child care through the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond.
“These two projects in Richmond will provide much-needed spaces in an area where, for too long, parents have found it particularly difficult to find child care,” said Katrina Chen, Minister of State for Child Care. “The peace of mind for parents and the flexibility of being able to pursue a full-time career or school will strengthen Richmond’s community and economy.”
Childcare BC’s New Spaces Fund is supporting Harrow House Academy to create a total of 147 spaces – 72 for infants/toddlers and 75 for children aged three years to kindergarten. Extracurricular instruction in activities like piano, violin and martial arts will be provided at the centre through community partnerships.
“We value the importance of early-years development and foresee the need to have a program that helps to not only educate parents and guardians, but to be part of the difference we are making as early childhood educators in such a critical time,” said Cherry Chen, CEO, Harrow House Academy. “We believe that the provincial funding will be a helpful resource in building a safe and meaningful space where the children will receive the best possible care through our child-centred programming.”
In addition, the Steveston Society of Children’s Centres is receiving funding for Alderwood House School London to create 10 new spaces for children aged three years to kindergarten, starting in September 2020. Alderwood House is a universal prototype site that is outdoor-based, with educators and children spending four to nine hours outside each day. The centre will utilize various community partnerships in their programming, like the Richmond Community Garden, Steveston Library, Britannia Heritage Shipyard and the London Farm Heritage Society.
“Alderwood House School is excited to be able to expand our program to include a 20-student, parent-participation preschool program,” said Pamela Wallberg, curriculum co-ordinator. “This program will continue to offer our social-emotional, rights-based programming in a nature-based environment, while also providing an early learning environment for children together with their parents. Creating a sense of community and finding authentic ways for parents to participate within early learning programs is an essential step toward providing family-first child care programs.”
July 2020 marks the second anniversary of the launch of the New Spaces Fund, which has approved an average of 700 new spaces for funding each month. So far, nearly 16,800 new spaces have been funded throughout the province, helping parents return to work, go back to school or pursue other opportunities.
“As a former early childhood educator, I know that quality child care makes a huge difference to families, allowing parents to go back to work or school and benefiting local economies in every part of B.C.,” said Katrine Conroy, Minister of Children and Family Development. “I’m proud of the progress our government has made in a short time. By funding over 16,000 child care spaces across the province, our Childcare BC plan is saving parents time and money and helping children along the path to lifelong learning.”
These new spaces are part of the fastest creation of child care spaces in B.C.’s history. An additional 4,100 spaces, funded through the 2017 Budget Update and the Early Learning and Child Care agreement with the Government of Canada, means that more than 20,900 new licensed spaces have been funded since July 2017.
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.
- This investment means 728 new licensed child care spaces have been funded in Richmond since July 2018.
- 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.
For information on health and safety standards for child care, visit: 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
For more information on child care in Richmond, visit the Richmond Child Care Resource & Referral Centre: https://www.rcrg.org/WhatWeDo/RCRGPrograms/child-care-resource-referral-centre
To find child care in your community, view the online child care map: http://maps.gov.bc.ca/ess/hm/ccf/
Child care factsheet: https://news.gov.bc.ca/18430
For more information on the Childcare BC Universal Prototype Sites, visit: www.gov.bc.ca/childcareprototypesites
A backgrounder follows.