A new campus-based child care centre at Selkirk College will provide 24 much needed spaces for children, allowing parents attending the college to focus on their school work.
The college is receiving almost $1.2 million through the Childcare BC New Spaces Fund and $300,000 through Columbia Basin Trust to build the Silver King Childcare Centre. The centre will have 16 spaces for infants and toddlers and eight spaces for children up to the age of 12.
The announcement of the funding for the new Silver King Childcare Centre took place in the Student Commons Building on the Silver King Campus where those in attendance gathered for a group shot.
“For the first time, parents at Selkirk College Silver King Campus in Nelson will have quality, licensed child care available on campus,” says Katrine Conroy, Minister of Children and Family Development. “As a former early childhood educator and instructor at Selkirk College, I know how needed these spaces are and the difference they will make in the lives of children, students and staff.”
Delivering Child Care Through Partnerships
The centre will be run in partnership with Kootenay Kids Society, a non-profit that delivers community social services in the West Kootenay and Boundary regions. The centre will offer quality child care to young children in a safe and engaging setting. All children, including those with extra support needs, will be able to actively participate in this child-centred environment.
“Access to post-secondary programs for learners of all backgrounds is the foundation of Selkirk College,” says Angus Graeme, Selkirk College president. “Parents with young kids are an important part of the mix on all our campuses and this new centre in Nelson will help us provide students with children the ability to get the education and training required for a stronger future. Having child care on campus available to our students will help change lives for both the parents and their little ones.”
Minister of Children and Family Development Katrine Conroy delivered the news that the Selkirk College Silver King Campus would be home to a new childcare centre.
Families at the centre will have access to all the services provided by Kootenay Kids Society. This includes a wide range of social and educational programming for expectant and new parents, access to the toy lending library and resources, Indigenous programming, family cultural events, early intervention support services and in-home visits to provide additional care to new parents.
“Kootenay Kids Society is extremely pleased to partner with Selkirk College and Columbia Basin Trust to bring additional child care spaces to Nelson,” says Helen Lutz, executive director of Kootenay Kids. “Locating the child care centre at the college will reduce educational barriers for the students who are parents. We also look forward to hosting early childhood education students from Selkirk College who will complete their education and practicums prior to becoming early childhood educators. It really is a win-win for so many families in the community.”
The partnership with Columbia Basin Trust is a vital element of the new centre on the Silver King Campus. In 2017, the Trust launched a $3.6 million program to help maintain and create new child care spaces in the Basin, train more early childhood educators and provide advisory services to child care providers. The Trust has been an integral part of Selkirk College’s directions in this area.
“This new facility is a welcome addition to meeting child care needs in Nelson and on campus, adding to the 412 spaces the Trust has already created in the Basin since launching the Child Care Support Program in 2017,” says Columbia Basin Trust president and CEO Johnny Strilaeff. “We’re so pleased to have been part of this project from the beginning, so it’s exciting to see it moving forward. Congratulations to all the partners for all the hard work to make it happen.”
Important Steps Forward for Families
Taya Whitehead is the Dean of the School of Health & Human Services and a former instructor in the Early Childhood Care & Education Program. An advocate on the provincial and national level with an extensive background in the child care sector, Whitehead says the Silver King Childcare Centre will benefit the entire community.
“The addition of a child care program at the Silver King Campus will be an incredible asset,” says Whitehead. “The program will serve the needs of students and staff, while adding much-needed child care spaces into the community of Nelson. This initiative will also be an asset to students completing their early childhood care and education program training at Selkirk College. With increased enrolments in the program to meet the commitments of the B.C. government, we will rely on strong partnerships for the practicum opportunities that are vital to our students.”
The new Silver King Childcare Centre will help children and their parents with much needed spaces in the region.
Including these new spaces, a total of 70 new licensed child care spaces in Nelson have been funded by the Province through Childcare BC’s space creation initiatives. They are part of the fastest creation of child care spaces in B.C.’s history, with more than 10,400 being funded in the past 15 months.
With the addition of 900 spaces that have been funded through partnerships with the Union of British Columbia Municipalities and Aboriginal Head Start using federal funding, and 4,100 spaces created through the 2017 Budget Update, more than 15,400 spaces have been funded Ministry of Children and Family Development in B.C. This brings the total spaces funded in the Nelson area in the past two years to more than 85.
Since launching in February 2018, the Childcare BC plan has helped parents in Nelson save more than $1 million through its affordability initiatives, such as the Affordable Child Care Benefit and Child Care Fee Reduction Initiative.
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.