Westmount School opens up to child care

Nathan Liewicki
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Partnership with YMCA a third for a Prairie South school

Dan Orescanin exuded optimism while discussing Westmount School’s new partnership with the Moose Jaw Family YMCA.

Westmount School's Create n' Learn child care space is set to open its doors to children ages three to 12 on Sept. 2, which is in partnership with the Moose Jaw Family YMCA. 

The principal at Westmount, Orescanin is excited that starting Sept. 2, the school will offer child care to students before and after classes.

“One of the things we really talked about was the lack of child care in our area,” he said. “Because of that we were noticing that when we looked at kids who were staying in the public system and live in our catchment area, they were attending King George (School), Sunningdale (School) and other schools.”

Westmount had the space to accommodate child care, so Orescanin reached out to his School Community Council, as well as to the YMCA.

“YMCA was looking for a place,” he said. “It worked out well.”

Parents whose children are not students at Westmount also have the chance to enroll their kids in the Create n’ Learn Centre, which will operate weekdays from 7 a.m. until 5:30 p.m.

Open to 30 children between the ages of three and 12, the centre – operated by the YMCA according to its child care policies and staffed with early childhood educators – was first announced in April.

Four-and-a-half months later, however, there are still has spots open for toddlers and pre-school students, says Jenni Montgomery, YMCA manager of child care services.

“I don’t feel the word is out there for Create n’ Learn,” she said. “We’re hoping this year we’ll get the word out there and get some more new enrolments.”

The majority of the kids enrolled are of a younger demographic, but the monthly costs associated with the child care services at Westmount vary depending on the child’s age. Enrolling toddlers costs $521, pre-school students cost $491, kindergarten students cost $440 and school-age children cost $290.

The Create n’ Learn Centre is in addition to the before and after school programming Westmount offers its students (7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.) – at no cost to parents.

“I’m really big on keeping South Hill kids going to South Hill schools,” said Orescanin. “We can have kids that are in the neighbourhood come here for the child care and stay here for school.”

He also noted the association with the YMCA presents parents of pre-school children with a good option who are in class for half a day and require child care for the other half.

Westmount joins Palliser Heights and Peacock Collegiate as Prairie South School Division schools in partnership with YMCA.

Nathan Liewicki can be reached at 306-691-1256 or follow him on Twitter @liewicks

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