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Better access to affordable, quality child care for Sea-to-Sky families

Better access to affordable, quality child care for Sea-to-Sky families

January 17, 2020 at 11:14 am  BC, News, Politics

Child care is getting less expensive and easier to find in the Sea-to-Sky region as the Province invests in more than 30 new child care spaces to give more parents the option to return to work, go back to school or pursue other opportunities.

“We’ve already seen the impact that the child care shortage has had on parents in Sea to Sky, with many people having to travel to nearby communities to find care,” said Katrina Chen, Minister of State for Child Care. “These new spaces are a first step to bringing child care closer to home, helping strengthen communities and ensure families have access to the supports they need on their doorstep.”

Through Childcare BC’s New Spaces Fund, two projects are creating new spaces for families in the Sea-to-Sky region. Whistler Waldorf School Society is creating 16 new spaces for children aged three to five. Programming offers connections to the natural world through outdoor play and nature walks, with songs and stories helping children develop their language skills. The centre offers meals and snacks free of charge, with children involved in baking bread and preparing food for their meals. Staff at the facility are fluent in multiple languages, and workshops for parents help teach early childhood and parenting skills.  

“Whistler Waldorf School is excited to be able to expand our early years program for 30 months to school-age children at the Early Years Centre in Spring Creek,” said Rubeena Sandhu, head of school, Whistler Waldorf Montessori. “As a registered not-for-profit society committed to protecting and nurturing childhood, we couldn’t have done it without the access to funding from the New Spaces Fund. The new centre will help alleviate the high demand for play school spaces by providing a natural and nurturing environment. We look forward to serving more families in Whistler and Pemberton.”

In Brackensdale, Little Peak Childcare is receiving funding to create 16 new child care spaces for children aged three to five. The centre will offer French as an additional language, as well as lessons in topics such as math, science, music and sports to help children develop their social and emotional skills.

“The funding provided by the Childcare BC New Spaces Fund was instrumental in enabling Little Peak Squamish to create a new, high-quality daycare facility that will provide 16 additional, much-needed child care spaces,” said Madeleine Cott, early childhood educator, Little Peak Childcare. “The support by the government is appreciated by both Little Peak Squamish and the community.”

Almost 80 new, affordable licensed child care spaces in the region have been funded since the Childcare BC New Spaces Fund launched in July 2018. They are part of the fastest creation of child care spaces in B.C.’s history, with more than 10,400 funded in the past 15 months.

With the addition of 900 spaces funded through partnerships with the Union of British Columbia Municipalities (UBCM) and Aboriginal Head Start using federal funding, and 4,100 spaces created through the 2017 Budget Update, more than 15,400 spaces have been funded in B.C. This brings the total spaces funded in the Sea-to-Sky region in the past two years to more than 150.

Since launching in February 2018, the Childcare BC plan has helped parents in the Sea-to-Sky region save more than $3.3 million through the Affordable Child Care Benefit and Child Care Fee Reduction Initiative.

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.

Quick Facts:

  • The District of Squamish is receiving over $850,000 through the UBCM Community Child Care Space Creation Program to fund 36 new, licensed child care spaces, to be located at a local elementary school.
  • Both the District of Squamish ($25,000) and the Resort Municipality of Whistler ($24,480) are receiving UBCM Community Child Care Planning Grants to help them create a long-term child care action plan to support parents in their communities.
  • The Province has made significant investments to improve supports for B.C.’s early care and learning professionals.
  • To date, the Province has invested more than $13 million to provide more than 10,000 early childhood educators with a $1-per-hour wage enhancement, with another $1-per-hour lift to come in April 2020. This includes more than $140,000 for early childhood educators in the Sea-to-Sky region.

Learn More:

For more about Childcare BC, visit: www.gov.bc.ca/childcare

To learn more about the Childcare BC New Spaces Fund and to apply, visit: www.gov.bc.ca/childcare/newspacesfund

To find child care in a 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 child care in Sea to Sky, visit Sea to Sky Community Services: www.sscs.ca/child-care/child-care-resource-and-referral/

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