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Improving access to quality, affordable child care in Surrey, Coquitlam

This backgrounder contains additional information on the five projects that will create a total of 217 new licensed child care spaces in Surrey and Coquitlam.

Just Kiddies Childcare (Coquitlam)

Located in the Westwood Plateau neighbourhood of Coquitlam, Just Kiddies Childcare is fully accessible, with dedicated staff available to ensure all children are able to participate in programs. The centre opened in early March 2020 with 36 spaces – 16 for children aged three years to kindergarten, 10 preschool spaces and 10 school-age spaces.

The curriculum includes multicultural events throughout the year to celebrate the diversity of the local community, including traditional dances, music and the sharing of traditional foods. Staff at the centre are multilingual, speaking Mandarin, Cantonese, Korean and Farsi to ensure parents and children new to Canada feel welcome and supported. The centre will also host visits from medical practitioners, including a nutritionist, public health nurse and dental practitioner.

Hedyeh Milani, co-director, Just Kiddies Childcare –

“We would like to express our utmost gratitude for this funding, as it has given us the opportunity to serve and strengthen relations in our community. It is necessary for families to feel supported and safe with their children, particularly with the minimal number of child care centres available in our area. This funding has taken a weight off our shoulders and allowed us to focus on providing high-quality, licensed care with a positive, comfortable and resourceful environment that promotes children’s emotional and social development skills.”

School District #36 (Surrey)

The Surrey School District will partner with a non-profit organization to build a new child care centre conveniently located on the grounds of Erma Stephenson Elementary school. The school district expects the new child care centre to be open for the 2021-22 school year.

The centre will deliver 88 licensed child care spaces – 40 preschool spaces and 48 spaces for before- and after-school care. Families of the child care centre will also have access to the school district’s welcome centre, which supports families new to Canada by providing information, orientation, translation, as well as settlement and multicultural services.

The Ministry of Education made recent changes to the School Act to make it even easier for school boards to follow Surrey’s lead and create before- and after-school care. The changes will also require school boards to create an inclusive child care policy and prioritize space that is not being used for K-12 students for child care.

Laurie Larsen, chair, Surrey Board of Education –

“Child care is a concern for so many of our parents. We understand the difficulties parents face in accessing child care, and we are very pleased to partner with the provincial government to create 40 new licensed preschool spaces and 48 new licensed spaces for before and after school care at Erma Stephenson Elementary for the 2021-22 school year.”

City of Surrey

The City of Surrey is transforming the historic Strawberry Hill Hall into a new child care centre. The city expects the centre to be open by January 2021.

The centre will provide a total of 36 licensed spaces – 18 for before- and after-school care and 18 for children aged three to five years. Early learning programming will inspire the growth of positive self-image, language and literacy advancement, independence and social-emotional connections. Before- and after-school care programs will give children the opportunity to create, move, discuss, observe, read and play. A new, accessible, nature-inspired playground will be a safe and engaging space for children to be active. When not in use by the child care centre, the hall will be available for heritage programming opportunities and private rentals.

Doug McCallum, mayor, City of Surrey –

“Surrey is home to B.C.’s largest child population and like many local municipalities, our families are in desperate need of local access to affordable and quality child care. Today’s announcement is welcome news, filling a great need for many parents in the Strawberry Hill community. We will continue to work with the Province to support access to high-quality child care services and facilities in Surrey.” 

Sowing Seeds Preschool – Faith Evangelical Lutheran Church (Surrey)

The Faith Evangelical Lutheran Church is renovating the area of the church used by Sowing Seeds Preschool to allow for 20 new school-aged child care spaces. The additional child care spaces will be available by fall 2020.

These new spaces build on the 20 existing preschool spaces already operating at the church. The facility offers large indoor and outdoor play areas and a classroom that welcomes preschoolers from all backgrounds and abilities, teaching the various skills needed for a confident and successful start to school. After-school tutoring is provided in English to support those who speak English as a second language. The preschool playground is also being redesigned to include a new play structure.

Gerhard Wilch, senior pastor, Faith Evangelical Lutheran Church –

“It is our goal to see every child reach his or her full potential. Our experienced and well-qualified teaching staff excel in providing the best care possible to the children and their families in our community. That is why we at Faith Lutheran are delighted to partner with the Ministry of Children and Family Development in making more top-quality child care spaces available to the families in our diverse and multicultural neighbourhood of West Newton.”

St. George Malankara Orthodox Church (Surrey)

St. George Malankara Orthodox Church is building a new assembly hall on recently purchased land that will feature a child care centre to provide care for 37 children – including 12 infant and toddler spaces and 25 spaces for children aged three to five years. The new facility is estimated to be open by winter 2021.

The new centre will have adaptive programming to suit individual learning needs and offer supports for families new to Canada. Atira Women’s Resource Society will deliver the child care services at the new facility. The society operates the Maxxine Wright Early Care and Learning Centre, also in Surrey, and has staff who can speak a combined 35 different languages.

Zerah Paul, vicar, St. George Malankara Orthodox Church –

“As a church, we believe children are the future; sown and nurtured carefully, they will yield invaluable fruits to society. Further, as a church comprised mostly of new Canadians, we recognize the unmet need in this particular neighbourhood for child care, that would allow them to get quality care while allowing their parents to join the workforce and contribute to society, and specifically, the local economy.”

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