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More child care spaces coming to Qualicum Beach area

New spots created for town, School District 69
More child care spaces will soon be available in School District 69. (PQB News file photo)

Families in Qualicum Beach will soon have access to 68 new licensed child care spaces.

Through Childcare B.C.’s New Spaces Fund, the Town of Qualicum Beach will create 25 spaces for children aged three years through kindergarten-aged, at the Into the Woods Early Learning Studio, which is expected to open in September 2021.

“It takes a village to raise a child and it takes a community coming together to create affordable, quality child care for local families,” said Katrina Chen, Minister of State for Child Care. “I’m proud our government is supporting the Town of Qualicum and the Qualicum School District to create new, licensed child care spaces that will offer local children a safe and caring place to learn and grow for generations.”

The studio will be fully accessible and inclusive to children that needs extra support. It will offer programs that will support Indigenous communities and cultures by inviting community educators, traditional language speakers, artists and First Nations storytellers to teach children about the Hul’qumi’num language and Pentlatch culture.

“This project will create a truly remarkable space for our town’s youngest residents, within the natural beauty of our community park,” said Luke Sales, director of planning and community development, Town of Qualicum Beach. “Thanks to this funding, the town will be able to support local families in a way that never would have otherwise been possible.”

READ MORE: COVID-19 essential workers can apply for B.C. pre-school child care

School District 69 (Qualicum) will also receive funding to create a total of 43 new licensed spaces that include 16 for children aged three years to kindergarten and 27 for school-aged children.

It will be located at Arrowview Kids Club, a two-classroom stand-alone building next to Arrowview Elementary school and is expected to open in early 2021.

Oceanside Building Learning Together Society will operate the new facility and employ a cultural liaison worker to provide Indigenous language lessons, stories, program materials and local knowledge to children.

“School District 69 Qualicum is excited to provide additional child care space on site at Arrowview Elementary for the parents of the youngsters in our community,” said Eve Flynn, board chair, School District 69.

Recent changes made by the government to the School Act will make it easier for school boards to create and operate before- and after-school care. The changes will also require school boards to prioritize space that is not being used for K-12 students for child care and encourage school boards to adopt an inclusive child care policy.

This investment means 112 new licensed child care spaces have been funded in Qualicum Beach since July 2018. Around 80 children in Qualicum Beach have received child care for no more than $10 a day helping parents save more than $1.1 million.

Qualicum Beach, in partnership with Lantzville, Parksville and the Regional District of Nanaimo, received a $125,000 grant from the Community Child Care Planning program, administered by the Union of B.C. Municipalities, to identify their specific child care space needs.

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