MAPLE RIDGE – As parents return to work, the Province is making affordable, quality child care more accessible for families in Maple Ridge by investing in 40 new licensed spaces, scheduled to open in July 2020.
“Providing inclusive, quality child care is key for building a strong, vibrant community and economy,” said Katrina Chen, Minister of State for Child Care. “For too long, the child care needs of Maple Ridge families were ignored. Through our Childcare BC plan and with these 40 new spaces, we’re making progress towards ensuring all families in Maple Ridge have access to affordable child care.”
With support from the Childcare BC New Spaces Fund, Happy Ridge Early Learning Academy is creating 40 new licensed child care spaces, including 20 infant/toddler spaces and 20 spaces for children aged three to five years.
“Having access to quality child care can make a big difference for a lot of families,” said Lisa Beare, MLA for Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows. “The new accessible spaces at Happy Ridge Early Learning Academy will provide parents with the opportunity to return to work or school while knowing their child is gaining valuable life skills in a safe environment.”
With renovations approaching completion, the centre will soon be fully accessible, including widened hallways and paths and an accessible washroom. Children at this Reggio-inspired centre will experience a student-led curriculum where they are encouraged to pursue their own interests through discovery, exploration and creativity. The centre will also support parents by providing lunch, snacks, diapers and wipes for children at the centre, as well as resources such as an introduction to the Canadian Early Years Philosophy and the Canada Food Guide. The centre will also have dedicated staff that speak multiple languages to ensure families with English as a second language are able to fully participate and understand the programs and materials.
“As entrepreneurs and professionals in the child care field, we are eager to help with the increasing demand of child care services, especially with the economy reopening after the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Anna Chin from Happy Ridge Early Learning Academy. “We are happy to be getting this funding support from the provincial government, which enables us to increase our current capacity and provide more spots to serve the community.”
These new spaces in Maple Ridge are part of the fastest creation of child care spaces in B.C.’s history. They were included in March 2020’s milestone announcement of 13,000 new spaces the Province has funded since July 2018.
An additional 4,100 spaces, funded through the 2017 Budget Update and the Early Learning and Child Care agreement with the Government of Canada, takes the provincial total to more than 17,000 new licensed spaces since July 2017.
Since launching in February 2018, the Childcare BC plan has helped parents save almost $500 million through the Affordable Child Care Benefit (ACCB) and Child Care Fee Reduction Initiative (CCFRI). Over 69,500 children have been approved for ACCB benefit plans since the start of the program. Currently, over 61,000 licensed child care spaces are approved to receive CCFRI funding.
Investing in child care and early childhood education is a shared priority between government and the BC Green Party caucus and is part of the Confidence and Supply Agreement.
- As the Province moves toward its “new normal” under COVID-19, child care projects may see unexpected delays.
Once operational, child care providers will be required to follow guidelines provided by the Ministry of Health and BC Centre for Disease Control to keep staff and the families they serve safe and to limit the risk of transmission.
- Albion Good Beginnings Daycare in Maple Ridge is one of more than 50 Childcare BC Universal Prototype Sites, providing seven spaces for children up to the age of 12 for no more than $10 a day.
The City of Maple Ridge is receiving a $25,000 grant through the Union of British Columbia Municipalities’ Community Child Care Planning Grant Program to help create a long-term child care plan to support families in the community.
- To date, the Province has invested more than $19 million to provide nearly 12,000 early childhood educators with a $1-per-hour wage enhancement, which increased to $2 per hour in April 2020, to better recognize the important work they do.