NANAIMO — Construction has wrapped and the doors will soon open for a one-of-a-kind program bringing badly needed childcare spaces to Nanaimo.
A community celebration was held at the Tillicum Lelum Aboriginal Friendship Centre's (TLAFC) new childcare facility on Tenth St. Friday afternoon.
Children and Family Development minister Katrine Conroy told NanaimoNewsNOW these are the kinds of programs the province wants to see for children since they learn the most up until the age of five-years-old.
“Those are the most important years for kids' learning,” Conroy said. “To have a head-start program for them to come to is just an incredible opportunity to get them ready for school.”
The new facility is expected to open in April once occupancy and licensing approvals are done and it's furnished, according to construction project coordinator Tammie Myles.
She said the new facility blends perfectly with the 50 other offered programs.
“We want to work with the entire community so that we're blending both western and Indigenous approaches here, so that (children) have better outcomes when they move through life.”
Myles said the 24 daycare spaces for three to five-year-olds and 20 after school spots for five to 12-year-olds will include on-site Elder interactions and a strong connection with the outdoors and animals.
“If we can give them a solid foundation to get going then we're not going to be dealing with the same issues that we currently deal with, the complexity of trauma, addiction resulting from residential schools and colonization."
The new building is beside Tillicum Lelum's other facility which features a youth safe house, affordable housing, transitional housing for young mothers, as well as a sweat lodge and garden.
Myles said their childcare program is the first and only program the non-profit TLAFC has ever charged for in their more than 50-year history in Nanaimo.
Myles said about $1.7 million is still required to help pay for the new TLAFC childcare complex. The project got off the ground thanks to a $500,000 contribution from the provincial government.
Donation information for the non-profit TLAFC to support its childcare facility is available here.
On Twitter: @reporterholmes
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