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More licensed child care spaces in store for Interior families

A look inside a child care facility. The province plans to open more child care spaces in the Interior. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

More licensed child care spaces will soon be available for families in B.C.’s Interior.

The province plans to open 84 licensed child care spaces and a further 79 by March of 2022.

“We’re working with all kinds of partners to open child care spaces as quickly as possible. These spaces will support us in our recovery from the pandemic and will help continue building economically and socially vibrant communities,” said MLA for Boundary-Similkameen, Roly Russell.

“There’s still more to do to achieve truly inclusive universal child care, but we are well on our way.”

Read more: Staffing shortages at Kelowna daycares leaves 24 families without child care

The province has funded 163 new licensed child care spaces for families in Lumby, Armstrong, Fernie, Osoyoos and Penticton.

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Osoyoos Elementary is expected to receive 24 new spaces, from the renovation of two classrooms.

The space can now be used as a kindergarten during the day with the addition of licensed child care in the mornings and afternoons.

“This renovation means more families can feel secure knowing their children are learning in bigger, brighter spaces from certified early childhood educators in a seamless program that transitions before and after school into the primary classrooms,” said Superintendent of School District No. 53, Beverly Young.

Click to play video: 'B.C. government announce almost 26,000 new childcare spaces' B.C. government announce almost 26,000 new childcare spaces
B.C. government announce almost 26,000 new childcare spaces – Jun 2, 2021

The Osoyoos facility was supported with approximately $93,000 in provincial funding.

The Early Years Centre in Lumby is expected to open 54 spaces by March 2022.

Kindale Child Care Centre in Armstrong is expected to open 25 spaces by early December.

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Bright Beginnings Community Preschool in Fernie has opened 51 spaces since September 2021.

Columbia Elementary school in Penticton opened nine new spaces in April 2021.

Read more: Penticton chosen for B.C.’s first publicly-funded pre-school program

These spaces are a part of the Province’s Child Care Rapid Renovation Fund, which provided approximately $11 million to non-profit groups and other organizations to quickly create child care spaces.

“Our government is committed to supporting lifelong learning and healthy families through child care programs and in schools throughout B.C.,” said the Minister of Education, Jennifer Whiteside. “The Child Care Rapid Renovation Fund gives parents more child care options within their communities, and builds on our ongoing work to ensure new child care spaces are available, accessible and affordable for all B.C. families.”

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