A before and after school programming is coming to the Kiddie Korner Day Care in Flin Flon to support the community, school-aged children, and their families.
Flin Flon has been going through a day care shortage crisis since before the COVID-19 pandemic started, with more than a hundred children currently waitlisted to receive affordable and accessible child care.
This initiative is to shorten the number of children on the waitlist and help parents who were struggling to find child care.
“We are a mining community, and most of our families are employed by the mines up here. A lot of them have to travel to another mine and be out for multiple days at a time which leaves one parent at home,” said Erin Cennon, Director of Kiddie Korner Day Care on Monday.
“Some do shift work where they work in the mines during a period of time and then come out. For our community, it is hard to have regular hour jobs and usually both parents are employed, so this allows for a little peace of mind for families as younger children will not be staying at home alone.”
The centre received a grant from the Manitoba Early Learning Child Care Program enabling families to access full-day child care on professional development days such as weekdays when schools are closed and full-day child care during school breaks including summer.
Funding from the province will transform an old church above the Lord’s Bounty Food Bank into a new space for before and after school programming for children in Flin Flon.
The majority of the grant will go towards the renovation of the new space including new flooring, improving the safety of the staircase and adding another full bathroom. Operating equipment, office supplies, books and toys for children will also be bought using the funding.
“It is quite amazing how quickly your bills start to add up when you are starting from scratch to build a facility to create an environment for school-age children,” said Cennon.
This location became a viable option because of the support from the Flin Flon School Division and the day care’s Board of Trustees.
Flin Flon MLA Tom Lindsay, as well as Danielle Adams, MLA for Thompson, also provided their support for this initiative by writing a letter to the provincial government about the need for more child care services in the city.
“We saw a bigger need coming forward and the people at Kiddie Korner Day Care foresaw that there was going to be an increased need so anything we can do to help parents find appropriate care for their kids is something well-worth supporting,” said Lindsay.
The new space should be operational by July 5. However, if renovations are completed earlier than scheduled, parents can expect to send their children earlier than the expected date.
“It’s very rewarding to know the work we’re doing can now expand to help even more families by offering a safe, fun environment around school hours. As a working parent myself, I’m sure many will appreciate this new option to help their daily routines flow,” said Sara Pawlachuk, the day care’s Board Chair.
Nicole Wong is a Local Journalism Initiative reporter who works out of the Winnipeg Sun. The Local Journalism Initiative is funded by the Government of Canada.
Nicole Wong, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Winnipeg Sun