Families in the Kelowna area will soon have access to 163 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 new projects will provide much-needed quality spaces in an area where, for too long, parents have found it difficult to find child care,” said Katrine Conroy, Minister of Children and Family Development. “These new child care spaces in West Kelowna and Lake Country mean more families will have access to this vital service, allowing more parents to participate in the community and economy while their children are well cared for.”
Childcare BC’s New Spaces Fund is supporting Adventure Time Early Learning Centre in West Kelowna to create a total of 65 new child care spaces, including 25 for children aged three years to kindergarten and 40 pre-school spaces. In addition to its child care programming, Adventure Time offers monthly workshops for parents on nutrition, education, literacy and parenting skills. The centre opened in July 2020.
“Our early learning programs are deeply inspired by the Reggio Emilia philosophy. We recognize that every child brings with them a unique perspective on the world and that each child has their own individual interests,” said Theresa Martyn, owner, Adventure Time Early Learning Centre. “The provincial support has allowed us to create 65 new child care spaces in a beautiful nature-based centre so our educators can foster children’s lifelong love of learning, laying down a strong foundation for their future.”
In addition, the Little Owl Society is receiving funding to create 98 new spaces at a new Lake Country location – 24 infant/toddler spaces, 50 spaces for children aged three years to kindergarten and 24 school-aged spaces. The centre will provide Indigenous programming, including drum-making, storytelling and teaching kids about plants and how to protect natural habitats. Little Owl Society’s Lake Country location is set to open in September 2020.
“Our Lake Country location will offer sensory-controlled environments and curriculum to develop communication and emotional regulation skills in children of diverse backgrounds and abilities,” said Amanda Worms, owner. “The centre will offer a community space for evening and weekend use to partners who are enabling resilience in families and furthering community connection, diversity and cultural experiences.”
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.
“Providing quality, affordable and inclusive child care goes hand in hand with a strong, vibrant economy,” said Katrina Chen, Minister of State for Child Care. “By funding nearly 16,800 new licensed spaces throughout the province, our government is helping more parents return to work, go back to school or pursue other opportunities knowing that when they drop their kids off in the morning, they’ll get the nurturing support they need to grow and thrive.”
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 483 new licensed child care spaces have been funded in Kelowna since July 2018.
- As the Province moves toward 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 Kelowna and surrounding area, visit the Okanagan Family & Childcare Society: https://childhoodconnections.ca/
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.