Seamless day child care in New Westminster Schools
October 29, 2021 – Starting in January an exciting new pilot project will kick off at Qayqayt Elementary: Seamless Day Child Care.
This Ministry of Education funded pilot will allow us to test a new model: before and after school child care, with two ECE (Early Childhood Education) trained staff, who will also support kids in classrooms, throughout the day.
The ECE team will be partnered with a kindergarten teacher at the school, using that classroom as a hub for the students. One ECE worker will start the day with the students and stay on until 12:45, and the second will start at 12:15 and stay until the last child is picked up … with the overlap enabling time for consultations and hand-off between the two staff members. During regular school hours the ECE staff will be able to touch base with teachers and will stay in the kindergarten classroom as an additional set of hands to support some of our youngest learners.
“This project is exciting in so many ways,” said Tanis Anderson, District Vice-Principal for Early Learning. “For parents dropping kids off early, this means there’s someone who knows and can communicate that a child had a bad sleep or maybe hadn’t eaten enough that morning … to make sure that child is supported throughout their school day. From a child’s perspective, this might mean there’s an extra person to see the excitement they had about jumping in puddles on a morning daycare walk. That opens an opportunity to encourage them to reflect that moment later in the day, maybe in something they are drawing or trying to write about … bringing their learning to life in a additional ways. And this is a gift as a teacher: to have an extra set of hands to support classroom activities. For example, an Early Childhood Educator might sit and focus on identifying letters with a small group of students at a learning station, enabling the classroom teacher to rotate more through the other groups in the room.”
The ECE positions will be living wage jobs that are additional and separate from any other classroom or school supports that currently exist.
The three year pilot will kick off by providing spaces for 12 kindergarten and grade 1 students. At the District level, we will work with our partners at Westminster Children’s After School Society (WCAS) to use their waitlist to reach out to families and fill the spaces … both supporting families who are already waiting and alleviating the list WCAS is working to manage.
“As we think creatively about how we can bolster early learning, make more efficient use of the spaces we have access to, and create ways to better support both students and families, this project is going to provide us great opportunities to do all those things,” said Anderson. “It really is just what it sounds like: seamless care for kids.”
|To read more from the Ministry of Education on the expansion of their Seamless Day Child Care Pilot projects: https://news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2021EDUC0080-001988|
Other parts of the child care puzzle
We know 12 spaces is good news, but it doesn’t fill the deep needs of decades of challenges parents and caregivers have faced when it comes to child care. We’re continuing to work hard on this challenge in a number of ways, alongside our partners in government, at the City of New Westminster and across the non-profit providers we currently collaborate with.
Last year we did the detailed leg-work required to expand licensing in our facilities, making modifications to spaces and processes as required. The benefit? This fall our partner child care providers are currently working to fill the 90 new and additional spaces we’ve created across the District! And we are continuing to work with City and non-profits to continue to add even more spaces.
All this means when we open the Seamless Day program, we’ll have created over 100 new spaces this school year!
We’re really proud of the work we’ve done so far, and will continue along this path, as we work to enable full participation in learning, by removing barriers families face when looking for safe and accessible child care.
Affordable Child Care – a workshop
Did you know that if your household income is $111,000 or less, you may be eligible for sliding scale child care support, under the Affordable Child Care Benefit program, offered by the Ministry of Child and Family Development?
Join the YMCA Child Care Resource & Referral team for an upcoming workshop at our new Welcome Centre. They’ll walk you through the options and process, and let you know how you can work with them for one-on-one support to apply.
The workshop will be held on Wednesday, November 3 from 6:30-8pm. Registration in advance is required: YMCA info session – workshop poster and registration info
You can also find out more about the Affordable Child Care Benefit here: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/family-social-supports/caring-for-young-children/child-care-funding/child-care-benefit