With the continued growth in Weyburn, there is a constant strain on each of the daycares in the community, with long wait lists of parents seeking a spot.
“We still have a lot of families wanting day care spaces, and for us the most requested is either infants or toddlers,” said Carissa Richard, director at the Color My World daycare.
Recently, the Color My World daycare received word that they were named a Site Centre from September 2014 to June 2015, through the Ministry of Education. “A site visit is one of the professional learning opportunities offered by the ministry in partnership with specific early childhood programs,” said Richard. “Early childhood educators can visit one or more sites that are continuously working toward implementing high quality practices for young children.”
There is such a demand for new daycare spaces that when the Sunrise Early Learning and Teen Parent Support Centre expanded into their new facility in December, adding 39 new spaces, they were half-filled even before officially opening.
“Right now, infant spaces are more of a demand, and we are filled right into December of 2015,” said Nicole Wendt, executive director of the Sunrise Early Learning Centre.
The Sunrise Early Learning Centre is located in the south hallway of the Weyburn Comp, which was recently renovated into a daycare facility. They have a partnership with the Comp school, so that the participants in the daycare are able to use the gymnasium, and attend band and choir classes.
Over at the Soo Line Daycare, which actually has two daycare facilities under one roof in the former Elgin school, they have a wait list of roughly 200 people. “Our biggest demand is for preschool space,” said Heather Whitford, executive director of the Soo Line Daycare.
One of the daycares at Soo Line is at capacity at 90 spots, while the other has 30 spots for a total of 120 clients. One of the struggles that prevents expanding more daycare spaces for the secondary facility is the lack of early childhood educators.
Child care workers must have the required skills, knowledge and competencies to provide appropriate environments for children, including having qualifications of an early childhood educator. Anyone who is working 65 hours or more in a month is counted as one staff person.
According to guidelines by the Early Learning and Child Care Branch of the Ministry of Education, in licenced child care centres, one worker can care for a maximum of three infants, or five toddlers, or 10 preschool-age or 15 school-age children except in specific circumstances identified in the regulations.
The biggest demand for the Tatagwa View Kidz Kare daycare is also for infant spots. One of the benefits of their location, right in the Tatagwa View, is that parents who work in the Sun Country Health Region are able to access the daycare easily.
They also struggle with finding the right qualified staff for their programming. “We offer a child-guided program with an emergency curriculum,” said Christina Atcheson, executive co-director at Tatagwa View. “Our participants have opportunities to explore natural and open-ended materials, where the children can create meaningful learning opportunities.”
Atchinson made a recommendation for parents that are looking for daycare, which is to get on a waiting list for each daycare. “These waiting lists do change month to month, so it is important to have your name and requests on a wait list.”
Other options for programming including calling the Family Place for their list of qualified babysitters, or contact the Sun Country Kids Club about their before and after school programs. The before and after school programs for Sun Country Kids Club are offered at most sites from 7:30 to 8:30 a.m. and from dismissal to 5:30 p.m. every school day.
The programming is held at the schools that offer their programs. Club members are also eligible for programming offered on Professional Development Days, school breaks and summer holidays. The non-profit organization offers programs that encourage physical activity, character, self-reliance, good sportsmanship, and respect among other youth.