© Times-Herald photo by Lisa Goudy
Maxeme Dzen, two years and 10 months old, checks out the new YMCA Create n' Learn Childcare in Westmount School at the open house on Friday.
A South Hill school now has a daycare inside it.
The Moose Jaw YMCA and the Prairie South School Division (PSSD) have partnered to have a new YMCA childcare centre in Westmount School. On Friday the centre, Create n’ Learn Childcare, had an open house.
“It’s in demand. It’s a need of the community. So we’re fulfilling the needs of Moose Jaw, essentially. Obviously there’s a need for quality care,” said Corinne Damaskie, manager of communications, funds development and school age care with the Moose Jaw YMCA. “It’s in a licensed facility and parents feel comfortable with the YMCA’s mission and vision and values and our standards for childcare.”
The Create n’ Learn daycare is the YMCA’s fifth childcare centre in Moose Jaw. The Westmount School centre has 30 spaces for kids aged three to 12. There is space for 15 pre-school and kindergarten kids and 15 school-age children.
So far Damaskie said there are 19 children registered. The Create n’ Learn centre will operate from 7 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday to Friday. During before or after school hours there is a private access to the facility.
“It will follow our other childcare centres with a playing to learn curriculum,” said Damaskie. “We’re really excited about this centre and we look forward to meeting the families of South Hill and providing care for them.”
Darby Briggs, PSSD communications co-ordinator, said discussions with the YMCA regarding having a school age daycare began in June 2011.
“We know that daycare on South Hill has always been an issue. So we thought this was going to be perfect. So it’s a really good partnership,” said Briggs. “They looked at all of our schools, looked at the facilities that were available, what was going to work for them, what they could do as far as renovations and Westmount turned out to be the perfect fit.”
When the provincial government released its 2012-13 budget it included funding for 500 new childcare spaces in Saskatchewan. The Moose Jaw YMCA was given 30 spaces.
Briggs said the education ministry provided up to $500,000 in capital funding assistance to renovate for a daycare provided it would be in a PSSD school.
The PSSD board approved the daycare at the Dec. 11, 2012 meeting and renovations began in June 2013.
“It was one of our summer projects in one of our schools,” said Briggs. “We’re really excited to partner with the Y. They provide an amazing program that really helps set our students up for entering into our schools in pre-K and kindergarten.”
She added if another private individual wanted to open a daycare at a school the PSSD board would be open to the possibility.
“It hasn’t really come up before,” said Briggs. “If it came up and another private individual wanted to open a daycare, I’m sure the board would be willing to go through the process and listen to them as a delegation at one of the board meetings. Early learning has always been a priority for the division.”
She said students could change schools in the division if they choose, but parents need to fill out a form notifying the PSSD why they want to change schools.
“Daycare’s always been something that’s been identified by parents as something that’s lacking. So the reason they go other locations is for daycare,” said Briggs. “It’s a pretty premium thing in the City of Moose Jaw … When the opportunity came up we thought, ‘This is a great way of us helping to provide a service to our parents.’”
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