40 Francophone child care spaces coming to Nanaimo

By Spencer Sterritt
December 6, 2017 - 11:23am Updated: December 6, 2017 - 12:23pm

Ministers Katrina Chen and Katrine Conroy at a day care after announcing millions of dollars in funding for new child care spaces. Province of B.C./Flickr

NANAIMO — With waiting lists stretching into the hundreds, child care spaces are at a premium for families all across Nanaimo and the mid-island region. But it's especially difficult for Francophone families, where there's only one space in town.

An announcement from the B.C. government hopes to help alleviate the situation.

There will be 40 new Francophone spaces in Nanaimo next year, 16 for children under 5 and the remaining for school-age children. They'll be built beside école Océane, the only French school operated by B.C.'s Francophone school district, offering before and after school programs.

Marie-Andree Asselin, executive director of the BC Francophone Parents Federation, said she and other parents appreciate the efforts to help Francophone families so far away from Quebec.

“When we want to have child care respecting the wishes of the family, it's very difficult because there's not enough services. It makes it very difficult for families to find appropriate child care...so we're hoping to open many more of these types of services.”

Asselin said having the spaces directly beside the school, instead of a separate centre in the city, makes the transition from the home, to day care and then school easier for children.

These 40 spaces cost more than $470,000.

As well, more than $160,000 is also allotted to create eight multi-age spaces at Hidamari Exploration Studio and Child Care, a bilingual space focused on modern, expressive learning.

In total, $3.7 million is being spent by the Ministry of Children and Family Development for new child care spaces across the province.


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