07/24/2020 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 07/24/2020 11:06
Families in Qualicum Beach will have access to 68 new licensed child care spaces as part of the Province's ongoing commitment to increasing child care through the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond.
'It takes a village to raise a child and it takes a community coming together to create affordable, quality child care for local families,' said Katrina Chen, Minister of State for Child Care. 'I'm proud our government is supporting the Town of Qualicum and the Qualicum School District to create new, licensed child care spaces that will offer local children a safe and caring place to learn and grow for generations.'
Childcare BC's New Spaces Fund is supporting the Town of Qualicum Beach to create 25 new spaces for children aged three years to kindergarten at the Into the Woods Early Learning Studio, which is expected to open in September 2021.
The studio will be fully accessible and inclusive to children requiring extra support needs and will offer programs to support Indigenous communities and cultures by inviting community educators, traditional language speakers, artists and First Nations storytellers to teach children about the Hul'qumi'num language and Pentlatch culture.
'This project will create a truly remarkable space for our town's youngest residents, within the natural beauty of our community park,' said Luke Sales, director of planning and community development, Town of Qualicum Beach. 'Thanks to this funding, the town will be able to support local families in a way that never would have otherwise been possible.'
School District 69 (Qualicum) is receiving funding to create a total of 43 new licensed spaces. The spaces include 16 for children aged three years to kindergarten and 27 for school-aged children and will be located at Arrowview Kids Club, a two-classroom stand-alone building next to Arrowview Elementary school. It is expected to open in early 2021. Oceanside Building Learning Together Society will operate the new facility and employ a cultural liaison worker to provide Indigenous language lessons, stories, program materials and local knowledge to children.
'School District 69 Qualicum is excited to provide additional child care space on site at Arrowview Elementary for the parents of the youngsters in our community,' said Eve Flynn, board chair, School District 69.
Recent changes made by the government to the School Act will make it even easier for school boards to create and operate before- and after-school care. The changes will also require school boards to prioritize space that is not being used for K-12 students for child care and encourage school boards to adopt an inclusive child care policy.
'For too long, families throughout B.C. have struggled to find quality, affordable child care close to home,' said Rob Fleming, Minister of Education. 'We're making it easier for child care to be delivered on school properties because children benefit when they spend more time in spaces that are already designed for enrichment and play, and families save time and money with one central drop-off location in their neighbourhoods.'
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.
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 Qualicum Beach, visit the PacificCARE Family Enrichment Society: https://pacific-care.bc.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
A backgrounder follows.