For the first time in a long time, families in Hagensborg will have access to licensed child care for children under the age of five, helping parents go back to work or school, while their children receive quality child care.
“I’ve heard from many parents having a hard time accessing quality care for their kids,” said Jennifer Rice, MLA for the North Coast. “This investment provides more child care options for parents and incredible learning opportunities for children who will benefit from the innovative eco-curriculum.”
School District 49 (Central Coast) will build a standalone child care facility beside Sir Alexander Mackenzie Secondary and Nusatsum Elementary schools after receiving $1 million through the Province’s Childcare BC New Spaces Fund.
The new centre will have 16 spaces – eight for infants and toddlers and eight for children aged 30 months to kindergarten. The school district expects the centre to open in late fall 2019.
“The board of education is thrilled to see this project get off the ground,” said Nicola Koroluk, chair of the board of education for the Central Coast School District. “We understand the importance of early childhood education programs and have run a successful program for four-year-olds at Bella Coola Elementary for almost ten years. This new facility will fill a void in the community for working parents with young children.”
Staff at the Hagensborg Child Care Centre will teach children about nature and the outdoors, using the Great Bear Rain Forest to deliver an eco-curriculum – the first of its kind in the Bella Coola region. Children will also have the opportunity to learn about Indigenous communities, in partnership with the local Indigenous communities of the Nuxalmc, Heilstuk and Wuikinuvx peoples.
“We know parents in northern communities often struggle to find quality child care,” said Katrina Chen, Minister of State for Child Care. “This investment will give a boost to families and the economy in the area by enabling parents to go back to work. In addition, the strong focus and partnerships with local Indigenous peoples and community organizations will give kids a sense of place and an increased understanding of the world around them from an early age.”
The school district will also provide opportunities for parents to participate in weekly activities like storytelling with the children and join their children on field trips. Additionally, the centre will offer wraparound services, including mental health supports and access to health professionals, and a clinical therapist for both staff and families.
Under the Childcare BC New Spaces Fund, child care providers can apply at any time throughout the year under a new continuous application process.
The Childcare BC New Spaces Fund is part of the Province’s Childcare BC plan and supports its commitment to give B.C. families access to affordable, quality child care when they want or need it.
Since July 2018, the Province has funded more than 4,900 new licensed child care spaces throughout B.C. under its space creation programs. More new spaces will be announced as projects are approved.
Investing in child care and early childhood education is a shared priority between government and the BC Green caucus, and is part of the Confidence and Supply Agreement.