Hundreds of Kelowna families will have access to child care at schools
A few hundred Kelowna families can now have their kids in child care conveniently located on school grounds, with more child care spaces opening in the coming months.
“Child care on school grounds makes life easier for busy parents and gives them peace of mind knowing their kids are in one place for the entire day, with one drop-off and pick-up location,” said Grace Lore, Minister of State for Child Care. “By working with school districts like Central Okanagan Public Schools, we’re building a future where affordable, quality and inclusive child care is a core service families can depend on where and when they want it.”
Central Okanagan school district received approximately $29 million through the ChildCareBC New Spaces Fund to build new child care facilities on school grounds. Nearly 600 new child care spaces located at seven schools throughout Kelowna, West Kelowna and Lake Country have been funded, with approximately 250 open and 350 opening this winter and next spring.
Lee-Ann Tiede, chair, School District 23 Board of Education said: “We are glad to work with the ministry and our community partners to open new child care spaces. Having child care connected to schools can provide easier transitions for preschoolers into our schools and offers much-needed support to working parents during those early years with children zero to 10 years old.”
To help fast track the creation of child care spaces on school grounds, the Province developed a funding stream specifically for B.C. school boards, First Nations schools, as well as independent schools interested in creating or expanding access to licensed child care at school. Applications are still being accepted for the 2023-2024 ChildCareBC New Spaces Fund. Since 2018, more than 33,000 new licensed child care spaces have been funded in B.C. through the ChildCareBC New Spaces Fund, with more than 1,700 of these spaces located in Kelowna area.
“We are thankful for government investment in these beautiful new facilities that will help us support many families and build community connections. We are excited to continue working with Central Okanagan Public Schools to provide quality child care on school grounds,” said Jeremy Welder, CEO, BGC Okanagan.
Anne McClymont Elementary School is just one example of a couple new BGC Okanagan child care facilities that are opening on the Central Okanagan School District school grounds.
“This is a beautiful facility and the team here is an amazing group of early-learning professionals. The location at the elementary school makes it convenient for drop-off and pickup,” said Matt Thomas, who is a parent of a child attending BGC Okanagan’s Club at Anne McClymont Elementary School.