North Okanagan Families To Benefit From New Child Care Spaces

More parents in the Interior will be able to return to work, go back to school or pursue other opportunities as the Province invests in about 150 new licensed child care spaces.

“Across the north Okanagan, families will soon have access to even more good quality and affordable early childhood education options,” said Harwinder Sandhu MLA for Vernon-Monashee. “As a parent, I understand the difference child care can make. These 150 new spaces will allow more parents to find schedules that work for them and give their kids a safe, healthy environment to learn and grow.”

The Province is supporting five projects to create 151 new licensed child care spaces in Armstrong, Lumby, Salmon Arm and Vernon:

  • Armstrong (25 spaces)
  • Lumby (54 spaces)
  • Salmon Arm (20 spaces)
  • Vernon (52 spaces)

The BC Ministry of Children and Family Development is funding the expansion of the Early Years Centre at the Okanagan Waldorf School in Lumby through their Child Care Rapid Renovation Fund.  

“This funding will allow for us to increase our child care centre by two new classrooms, creating the following 54 new spaces:

  • 19 Group Child Care (30 Months to School Age)
  • 20 Preschool (30 Months to School Age)
  • 15 Group Child Care (School Age) 

In total, after this expansion, the Early Years Centre will house 121 childcare spaces, ranging in age from birth through to school age.

“We are immensely thrilled to be expanding our existing Montessori program to include a nature-based program and a much-needed infant and toddler care program,” said Harmony Roberge, head of Maple Tree Montessori in Salmon Arm. “The Province’s sponsorship of these 20 new child care spaces makes it possible for siblings of varying ages to now remain together on the same grounds, facilitating ease and simplicity in the lives of the families we serve. Toddlers may now transition seamlessly into our Montessori program for older children, allowing for a continuity of care and education from infancy through to preschool and finally, kindergarten.”

In addition, 10 other projects have also received funding in the North Okanagan since the launch of Childcare BC in July 2018. 

“As we enter the fourth year of our 10-year Childcare BC plan, thousands of families are already feeling the life-changing impact of having affordable, quality and inclusive child care,” said Katrina Chen, Minister of State for Child Care. “As we continue to build towards an inclusive universal child care system, these new spaces will make it easier for parents, especially mothers, to pursue their own goals, while also being part of B.C.’s economic recovery.”

The Province has funded almost 26,000 new licensed spaces since the launch of Childcare BC – more than 6,000 of which are now open.

An additional 4,370 spaces, funded through the 2017 Budget Update and the Early Learning and Child Care agreement with the Government of Canada, takes the total number of new child care spaces funded since July 2017 to more than 29,300.

Quick Facts:

  • Since July 2018, almost 26,000 new licensed child care spaces have been funded in British Columbia, including 53 in Armstrong, 70 in Lumby, 70 in Salmon Arm and 512 Vernon.
  • The Childcare BC plan has helped parents save up to $1,600 a month, per child, for a total of more than $770 million through the Affordable Child Care Benefit and Child Care Fee Reduction Initiative.
  • As a result of these investments, parents in the Vernon-Monashee and Shuswap regions have saved more than $6.8 million and $7.2 million, respectively.
  • Early childhood educators in Vernon-Monashee and Shuswap have received more than $683,000 wage enhancements combined.

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