Parents with young children, especially those on waitlists for daycare centres, will have soon have a new option in Red Deer.
Red Deer Child Care executive director Joan Goldhawk said the organization is planning to open a new facility at the Pines school. It is slated to open in September. The group has just applied for its licence.
Goldhawk said the need for more daycare facilities in Red Deer and Central Alberta is high. The three current Red Deer Child Care centres at Johnstone, Woodlea and Normandeau have waitlists and the new facility might help curb the high demand.
The new facility will accommodate 40 children from newborns to 19 months and kindergarten age. Goldhawk said about 30 families are interested. They have plans to expand to accomodate more age groups.
Goldhawk said the new community-based care program for newcomer children that started in February at the Normandeau may also move to the new facility.
The pilot program started this year when the Red Deer Child Care and Central Alberta Refugee Effort (CARE) decided to partner up.
The program started as a result of newcomer families moving to Central Alberta with their young children. Although, CARE provides ESL classes to all newcomers, many couldn’t attend classes because they couldn’t afford childcare.
“The particular problem for women who end up isolated for long periods of time without language because they have preschool children and they cannot afford even subsidized childcare,” said Anna Morgan-Wold, ESL manager at CARE.
The only concern was funding which came through in February from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada and it’s approved again to continue the program starting in September. The program has expanded from 10 children to 12 starting this fall.
Goldhawk explaines the pilot program was succesful given the partnership between the two agencies and the work they both do in the community.
“There was such a lovely melding of how we work together to fill all those needs to be inclusive and welcoming them into the community as well as fitting in a new childcare system,” said Goldhawk.
Some changes were made as a result of the new program such as adding a variety of food to accomodate all cultures which only helped children to embrace all cultures.
The next course of the program starts Sept. 5 and runs until June 2018.