Having never been to the Tumbler Ridge Child Care Centre, I was struck by its size and intricate passageways from room to room. From the exterior you see the bright outdoor structure of play areas and a mass of wooden beams. From the inside you could get lost.
The Tumbler Ridge Child Care Society (TRCCS) has been at the helm of this service for many years. They see the necessity for the expansion of services for residents of Tumbler Ridge and their young families. Up to this point, their classification was recognized as ?child minding?.
They are in the process of being approved for licensing to become an official daycare which will involve a pre-school atmosphere and additional hopes to incorporate a before and after-school program as well. That may come in the future, providing there is qualified staff and a need for it. The expected date for start up of the new program will be at the beginning of August. Says TRCCS President David Ruel, ?We?re really excited about the changes we?re making for the centre and the community. There is a definite need for this in our community and we?re trying to respond to that need.? Once running as a licensed daycare, a board of directors will still administer the facility.
One of the things that will change as a result of the child minding changing to daycare status, will be better opportunities for grants which were largely unavailable to them in the past. The centre is presently financed by; fundraising, fees collected and few grant prospects accessible to them.
At this time, the Child Care Centre has manager Joanne Ferrari, an accredited teacher helping the kids along. She has them working on arts and crafts, alphabet and numbers, listening and learning to get along together, etc. Each Tuesday and Thursday there is a morning class, which runs from 9:15-11:45 am and an afternoon class from 12:30-3:00 pm. Both classes have 16 spots and there are a total of 25 who currently attend. The hope is to become a service that runs three to four days a week.
A succession of steps is in order before the finalization of licensing. First they must have both a teacher and qualified staff in place. Next is applying to Northern Health Authority for changing the license over.
The plan to run a daycare and a pre-school in conjunction will likely be a welcome venture, as there are few alternatives in Tumbler Ridge for many working parents. The daycare will accept children 30 months to five years, as that will be what they are licensed and prepared to handle.
In September, the applicants will be chosen on a first-come, first-serve basis after those already attending that may return. The Child Care centre will then keep a waiting list of spots available.
The Child Care Centre will be hosting several upcoming events, the first being a graduation for this past year?s little ones, on June 20th. On June 29th, there will be an Open House from 8:00 am to 4:00 pm, which will be the best opportunity for people to come and see the facility and get any information they might need for placing their child in the Centre.
The Annual General Meeting (AGM) takes place on June 30th at 10:00 am. David Ruel strongly recommends people attend both the Open House and AGM, especially parents who are thinking of putting their child in this September. There will be chance to pre-register at the Open House.
For further information regarding the Child Care Centre, please contact Joanne Ferrari at 242-0003.