Increased access to quality licensed child care on Selkirk College’s Silver King Campus in Nelson will assist families in accomplishing a proper balance that helps build stronger communities.
Opened to families in September, the new Silver King Childcare Centre provides 24 new spaces for both Selkirk College students and the general community. Made possible through $1.2 million in funding from the provincial government’s Childcare BC New Spaces Fund and $300,000 from Columbia Basin Trust, the centre is being operated by Kootenay Kids Society.
“I’m thrilled that members of the Selkirk College community and other busy Kootenay parents will now have child care right on site at the Silver King Campus to make lives easier,” says Nelson-Creston MLA Brittny Anderson.
“On-campus child care means parents can have peace-of-mind knowing their kids are close by. Thanks to everyone involved in making this new centre a reality. These new spaces are helping parents balance raising their kids with their studies so they are able to build a strong foundation for their families.”
The Silver King Childcare Centre opens 24 licensed spaces to the community that includes 16 children from birth to 36 months and eight children between the ages of three to five. Eight spaces have been set aside for Selkirk College students with the remainder available to the general community through the non-profit Kootenay Kids Society.
Located in the Rosemont neighbourhood of Nelson where it first opened in 1964, the trades-based Silver King Campus offers programs that range from welding and hairstylist to academic upgrading and fine woodworking. Students from all Selkirk College campuses in the region are eligible to apply for the spaces.
“Child care facilities on our campuses makes it easier for students to pursue their studies, improves supports for Selkirk College employees with young families, and supports the community with more early learning opportunities for kids,” says Selkirk College president Angus Graeme. “Selkirk College’s fundamental mission is accessible, affordable post-secondary education and this addition to the Silver King Campus is an important piece. With more availability of licensed child care, parents who face barriers to access now have additional options.”
Kootenay Kids Society delivers services to families and children in the West Kootenay region. These services include a wide range of social and educational programming for expectant and new parents, access to the toy lending library and resources, Indigenous programming, family cultural events, early intervention support services, and in-home visits to provide additional care to new parents. The newly opened childcare centre offers quality care to children aged birth to five and provides an experiential learning environment that is inclusive of all children.
“Kootenay Kids Society is pleased to partner with Selkirk College and Columbia Basin Trust to bring these additional child care spaces to Nelson,” says Helen Lutz, executive director of Kootenay Kids. “Locating the childcare centre at the college will reduce educational barriers for students who are parents. We look forward to hosting Early Childhood Care and Education Program students from the college who will complete their education and practicums. It really is a win-win for so many families in the community.”
The partnership with Columbia Basin Trust is a vital element of the new centre. Since launching its Child Care Support Program in 2017, the Trust has created 820 new child care spaces and upgraded nearly 2,600 spaces around the Columbia Basin region.
“We’re so pleased to have been part of this project from the beginning and it’s exciting to now see it benefiting families and students in Nelson and the surrounding area,” says Columbia Basin Trust president and CEO Johnny Strilaeff. “Children will receive quality care that benefits their development, parents will be able to commit time to other aspects of their lives and post-secondary students can concentrate on their studies. Congratulations to all the partners who made this possible.”
Including these new spaces, a total of 70 new licensed child care spaces in Nelson have been funded by the province through Childcare BC’s space creation initiatives. They are part of the fastest creation of child care spaces in B.C.’s history, with more than 26,000 new licensed child care spaces funded in B.C. since 2018.
Since launching in February 2018, the Childcare BC Plan has helped parents in Nelson save more than $1 million through its affordability initiatives, such as the Affordable Child Care Benefit and Child Care Fee Reduction Initiative.