A new childcare facility located on the Denman Island Community School site opened earlier this month.
The facility offers 20 new licensed childcare spaces for children ages 12 months to five years and was purpose-built to create separate spaces for young children, including a nap room and a fenced yard.
Comox Valley Schools received close to $1 million in funding in November 2019 from the provincial government to create much-needed licensed childcare spaces on Denman Island. The grant was part of the Childcare BC New Spaces Fund, which supports the creation of new, licensed childcare spaces across the province.
“For many years, families in B.C. have experienced a severe shortage of affordable, high-quality childcare options,” said Katrina Chen, Minister of State for Child Care. “Having new childcare spaces on school grounds will help support the healthy development of Denman Island children and families for generations to come.”
The new facility addresses the acute shortage of licensed childcare due to rapid population growth experienced in recent years and will alleviate the increasing demand on the Denman Island Preschool Society (Blackberry Lane Children’s Centre), the island’s only official childcare centre.
Blackberry Lane Children’s Centre previously operated out of the Community Hall and has been providing childcare for over 30 years. Originally developed as a co-operative childcare centre, Blackberry Lane has been through many iterations over the years from its origins as a co-operative space and a Montessori Preschool.
The school district worked closely with the Blackberry Lane throughout the application process to secure funding and design a space that meets the needs of the community while providing a spacious and comfortable workplace for the childcare staff.