Nelson-Creston MLA Michelle Mungall (centre) joined Veronica Maclean (left) and Tracy Barkman of the School House Early Care and Learning Centre on Wednesday. The centre is taking part in a pilot project that provides monthly full-time care for $200 or less. Photo: Tyler Harper

Nelson childcare centre part of provincial affordable care pilot

The School House Early Care and Learning Centre is one of 53 sites chosen for $200 per month childcare

Childcare just became a lot more affordable for a lucky group of Nelson families.

The School House Early Care and Learning Centre is one of 53 sites in B.C. included in a plan announced Friday that will provide full-time monthly care for $200 or less per child.

The pilot project will run through March 31, 2020, and inform the provincial government’s plans for affordable universal childcare.

Veronica Maclean, the centre’s founder, said Wednesday that a family with three children at School House has already had their bill cut from approximately $3,000 per month to $540.

“The mom, when I told her, I thought she was going to faint,” said Maclean. “She was just swooning.”

School House has operated next to Lions Park since 2013 and is licensed to care for children from birth to 12 years old. Maclean said the centre applied to be included in the pilot in May, and believes the number of infant and toddler spaces it provides helped it get chosen for the program.

The centre currently serves over 70 families, according to Maclean, who added the funding announcement will also be a boon to the School House. A one-time quality improvement grant will also be made available to the centre next year.

“I think it will help us become a better centre to provide even more in-depth services with an emphasis on quality care and early learning experiences, just because we’ll have access to funding [and] professional development opportunities,” said Maclean.

The pilot is being funded by an investment of $60 million from the provincial and federal governments under the Early Learning and Child Care Bilateral Agreement.

Nelson-Creston MLA Michelle Mungall visited the centre Wednesday as part of the funding announcement. She said the pilot project is a similar step toward universal childcare that Quebec took prior to the rollout of its subsidized plan in 1997.

“You can see right now the big smile ear to ear here,” said Mungall. “I know, not just as a new mom but for years as the local MLA and before that when I was on city council, how difficult childcare was for families. It was very difficult to get into childcare spaces and once you finally did, the cost was very prohibitive for a lot families.”

Mungall said the pilot will provide data on the number of care spaces required, demand for care and the types of programming offered by centres.

The School House is currently located in the former Gordon Sargent Elementary School. The building is one of 10 properties School District 8 hopes to se pending provincial approval.

Maclean said she spoke to the district about the building’s future, but could not provide more detail other than to say she expects the centre will stay put.

“I’m confident nothing is going to happen,” she said.


Nelson to get 15 new child-care spaces

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Nelson Skating Club to host West Kootenay Invitational Competition

The event will include skaters from around the Kootenays

COLUMN: Getting on the bus, figuratively and literally

Anne DeGrace on efforts to improve transit in Nelson

COLUMN: Another week that Martin Scorsese would appreciate

From the Civic Theatre’s Jason Asbell

Government needs to step up to address $10M RCMP budget deficit: Morrison

Kootenay-Columbia MP Rob Morrison says governments need to ensure rural communities are protected

VIDEO: Marking Métis Week with a wild meat lunch

Nelson students were served food as part of an event centred on Métis culture

Canucks erupt with 5 power-play goals in win over Nashville

Vancouver ends three-game slide with 6-3 triumph over Predators

65-million-year-old triceratops makes its debut in Victoria

Dino Lab Inc. is excavating the fossilized remains of a 65-million-year-old dinosaur

B.C. widow suing health authority after ‘untreatable’ superbug killed her husband

New Public Agency Health report puts Canadian death toll at 5,400 in 2018

Changes to B.C. building code address secondary suites, energy efficiency

Housing Minister Selina Robinson says the changes will help create more affordable housing

Security guard at Kamloops music festival gets three years for sexually assaulting concertgoer

Shawn Christopher Gray walked the woman home after she became seperated from her friends, court heard

Most Read