Child-care program hunts for new home

Rapid growth at a southwest Calgary school is pushing out a before-and-after school care program.

Rapid growth at a southwest Calgary school is pushing out a before-and-after school care program.

KidZinc will have to move from its current location in Battalion Park School because the school's population has jumped from around 450 to nearly 700 students in recent years.

The non-profit program's executive director Fiona McColl said it's been a struggle to find a new location before the fall for the 26 students currently enrolled.

"We're frustrated because we feel like there isn't an acknowledgment from the community at large that child care is really needed in the area," said McColl.

KidZinc provides child care from 7 a.m. to 9 a.m. and from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. for children in Grades 1 to 6, as well as on professional development days and other breaks. McColl is trying to lease space in a local church, but the children would have to be bused to and from the church and it would have room for less than half the students currently in the program.  

Alex Poole's seven-year-old son Tariq attends the program. She is a working mother of two and is worried about finding alternative care.

"That's kind of a scary reality, that you have to find somewhere, that you don't know the person," she said.

Ted Flitton, a spokesman for the Calgary Board of Education, said the public school board wants to be able to help.

"We need to be mindful that our first duty is to educate, and with the community that's growing so quickly there's just no more space available at that school."

KidZinc runs seven before-and-after school programs around the city. The non-profit group took over the Battalion Park School program when the YMCA was facing closures in 2007.