The B.C. government has announced hundreds of new child care spaces for both Nanaimo and Port Alberni.
A total of 326 new licenced spaces will be available in Nanaimo and 48 are opening in Port Alberni.
In Port Alberni, the Kackaamin Family Development Centre (KFDC) is building a new child care facility with 32 spaces for children under the age of 12.
And Alberni Valley Saplings is creating 16 spaces for children under the age of 12.
KFDC is a trauma and addictions recovery treatment facility for Indigenous and non-Indigenous families. The centre allows families to stay together while a parent receives treatment.
The centre will be able to accept up to 14 families into the treatment program and provide children with safe and inclusive care on site.
Alberni Valley Saplings, which is expected to open in July 2020, will offer inclusive programming and extended hours to accommodate families who need care outside of traditional business hours, the government said.
In Nanaimo, the new Childcare Centre at Vancouver Island University (VIU) is will have 75 spaces, including 12 infant/toddler spaces, 50 spaces for children aged three to five years and 13 spaces for school-age children.
The government said elders on campus at VIU will consult on the centre’s curriculum to ensure children learn about Indigenous cultures, traditions and history.
The new building will function as both a child care centre and a training hub where students in programs, including early childhood education, social work, nursing and dental hygiene, will be offered a practicum.
The university expects the new facility to be completed by fall 2022 and open to families in early 2023.
Elsewhere in Nanaimo, there will be at 131 new spaces – including 36 infant/toddler spaces, 25 spaces for children aged three to five years, 20 preschool spaces and 50 spaces for school-aged children – at Inquiring Little Minds.
Inquring Little Minds, also a new centre, will offer lessons in the Hul’q’umi’num language. There will also be a parent room and workspace where new mothers can breastfeed their children while they work, among other programming. The centre is expected to open in November 2020.
And Core Education Fine Arts (CEFA) Early Learning Nanaimo will have 120 new spaces, including 36 infant/toddler spaces and 84 spaces for children aged three to five years. The centre opened in December 2019.
More information on health and safety standards for child care, plus the latest COVID-19 related child care information, is available at: www.gov.bc.ca/ChildCareCovid-