Families in the Central Okanagan 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.
Katrine Conroy, minister of children and family development, said two new projects will provide quality spaces in an area where parents have found it difficult to find child care.
“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,” she said.
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 this July.
“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 Little Owl Society is also 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.
This month 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.
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 added since July 2017.