88 child care spaces announced for new Catholic school
Child care rooms to be created at the new St. Boniface School in Breslau
The Ontario government has announced $3.9 million in funding to create five new child care rooms for up to 88 children at the new St. Boniface School, which is scheduled to be open in Breslau in 2019.
The investment now brings a total of four schools with the Waterloo Catholic District School Board to offer care for infants, toddlers and preschoolers who will eventually graduate into kindergarten at the same school.
The other schools are St. Vincent de Paul in Cambridge, Huron-Brigadoon in Kitchener and St. Brigid in Ayr.
Board worked with care provider
Shesh Maharaj, the Chief Financial Officer with the Waterloo Catholic Board says the goal is eventually to have all elementary schools equipped with child care space.
"We'll be applying to the Ministry [of Education] as long as the funding is available to attach child care to our schools. It is a good wraparound service that we can provide starting from when they're ready to go to child care, to when they're ready to go to school."
Since the early 2000s the Catholic board has been working with a local service provider to establish on-site child care. Those schools also offer an extended day program for children between junior kindergarten to Grade 6.
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'Best start in life'
Indira Naidoo-Harris, the Associate Minister of Education (Early Years and Child Care) said today's announcement is all part of a $120 million investment.
"Over the next five years, we are going to create an additional 100,000 licensed child care spaces," Naidoo-Harris said. "We are working hard to build a child care and early years system that gives our children the best start in life."
The 2016 Vital Signs report for Kitchener-Waterloo, released Wednesday, suggests the government's plan may come at the right time, as 31 per cent of preschoolers 21 per cent of toddlers and two per cent infants have access to licensed child care in the region.
Report suggests lack of progress
Kitchener-Waterloo NDP MPP Catherine Fife says the Vital Signs numbers point to the lack of progress the provincial government has made.
"I would welcome a small amount of money that came to the region today through the provincial government," Fife said.
"But we have to really push Kathleen Wynne's government to bring in a comprehensive broad-based child care strategy which actually is affordable and speaks to the quality of care children in our region and across the province need."
Fife says the New Democratic Party focus is on the not-for-profit sector saying they view early child care and early learning as having the same priority as education for older children.