Families in Kamloops and Chase will have access to 120 new licensed child care spaces as part of the Province’s ongoing commitment to increase child care through the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond.
“By working with our community partners, we’re bringing child care closer to home for families who need it the most,” said Katrine Conroy, Minister of Children and Family Development. “These new spaces will not only support local economies but also make life better for parents and offer their children a safe space to learn and grow.”
Childcare BC’s New Spaces Fund is supporting three organizations to create 41 spaces for infants and toddlers, 55 spaces for children aged three to kindergarten, 20 spaces for preschool children and four spaces for school-aged children.
Gateway Children's Centre will be located in the historic Gateway City Church in Kamloops and create 25 infant/toddler spaces, 30 spaces for children aged three to kindergarten and 20 preschool spaces, which are expected to open in spring 2021. A new 186 square-metre (2,000 square-foot) outdoor play area will include accessible climbers, slides, ladders, hoppers and bumpers. Children will go on field trips to the Mustard Seed Food Bank, fire hall, library, Big Little Science Centre, local museums and art galleries.
“I, along with the leaders and membership of Gateway City Church, am really excited and am looking forward to providing our community with a high-quality child care centre next spring,” said Pastor Matt Schultz, Gateway City Church. “This has been something that has been dreamt and talked about for a long time and it is exciting to see it come to fruition. Our hope is to be able to meet a great need of children and families within the Kamloops community.”
Cariboo Child Care Society will create 12 infant/toddler spaces and 25 spaces for children aged three to kindergarten at a newly renovated child care facility next to the early childhood educator program at Thompson Rivers University (TRU) that is expected to open in September 2022. The facility will include will a ‘Language Nest’ where Elders will teach children about Indigenous culture and language. Staff will have additional training in the Indigenous curriculum.
“This renovation will be part of the new TRU Early Childhood Education Centre; a consolidated academic research and teaching facility that will be unique on a global basis and the first of its kind in Canada,” said Dillon Alexandre, manager of facilities, TRU. “The centre will consolidate several existing programs from across campus and include the relocation of a portion of the TRU early childhood education program, the Children and the Law Laboratory, and the relocation and expansion of the existing Cariboo Child Care Society.”
In Chase, the Adams Lake Indian Band is creating four infant/toddler spaces and four spaces for school-aged children at Sahhaltkum Daycare, which is part of the new Adams Lake Indian Band Health & Wellness Multipurpose Facility set to open in March 2022. The Sahhaltkum Daycare philosophy combines traditional teaching of Elders with modern child care theories and approaches. Children will eat food from a community garden they will help grow. Staff will involve young parents in program planning to tailor services to their family's needs.
“This new facility will be a great place for Sahhaltkum Daycare to continue to support child development and growth for generations to come,” said Shirley Anderson, director of health and wellness, Adams Lake Indian Band. “These new spaces will help us continue to encourage individuality in a positive learning environment.”
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 386 new licensed child care spaces have been funded in Kamloops and Chase 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 Kamloops and Chase, visit the Kamloops Community YMCA-YWCA: https://www.kamloopsy.org/eycccrr.htm
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
A backgrounder follows.