The Into the Woods Childcare Society will start looking for an executive director for the daycare studio that will create 37 child care spaces in Qualicum Beach.
The Into the Woods Learning Studio building, which was impacted by cost overruns increasing its price tag from $1,996,724 to $2,415,000, is almost finished and will be ready for operation in 2023.
The co-chair of the society, Carol O’Connor, said they have entered a five-year agreement with the Town of Qualicum Beach to operate the childcare centre. She added the society has secured funding to be able to hire an executive director, who will be responsible for the day-to-day operation of the studio.
“We are aiming to open the studio sometime in May,” said O’Connor. “We will start accepting applications from families wishing to be included on a waitlist. We are hoping to provide as much childcare to the community as possible.”
The search for an executive director will be posted soon and O’Connor hopes they would have the position filled by February or March.
The daycare project was first offered to the town in 2019 and was given approximately $2 million to build by the Ministry of Children and Family Development New Spaces Fund and the Community Child Care Space Creation Program. But COVID-19 and high inflation almost derailed the project as costs have escalated, which forced the town, which already donated the land and also staff resources, to come up with the additional funds to finish the building. The town also donated the land and other in-kind staff resources.
The Into the Woods Learning Studio building is located in Qualicum Beach Community Park on Dorset Road. It will feature an outdoor play area and also use the nearby forested land as a natural play area.
“It’s a beautiful building and a beautiful place for the children to be in,” said O’Connor. “We’re really happy to see the studio finally being completed.”
Once the studio is fully operational, O’Connor said, they will have eight employees, which she considers to be the society’s next big challenge.
“Staffing across the province is an issue, to try and find well-educated staff,” said O’Connor. “We are really committed, trying to make sure that our staff are qualified early childhood educators and specializing in nature programming. Our program is designed on a strong nature based program in which the children will be outdoors for the majority of their day.”
For families interested in applying for a spot in the Into the Woods Learning Studio, and also for those wishing to apply for the executive director position can email Karen.Charlesworth1@gmail.com.