North Van child care centres receive funding for 172 new spaces

North Shore parents will soon have more childminding options – 172 to be exact.

The province announced $431,950 in capital funding for licensed child care spaces at two new centres in North Vancouver last week.

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“North Shore families have been burdened for far too long by the high cost of living and a lack of adequate child care spaces,” stated North Vancouver-Lonsdale MLA Bowinn Ma, in a press release.

Kuddles Early Learning Centre, set to open March 1 at 1396 Marine Dr. in North Vancouver, is receiving $181,950 to help create 92 new licensed spaces – 36 infant and toddler spaces, and 56 for children aged 30 months to school age.

“It will relieve a lot of the wait lists from the daycares,” said Kuddles Early Learning Centre owner Madeleine Liceaga. “As everyone knows, there’s a daycare crisis on the North Shore.”

Renovating the existing commercial space that will house the new Kuddles facility will cost about $750,000 said Liceaga, who is welcoming the provincial assistance.

Kuddles offers a French program as part of the curriculum to introduce children to a second language through songs and games. Staff at the centre are also able to provide services in Spanish, Mandarin, Farsi and Korean.

The rate for infant care five days a week at Kuddles is $1,500 per month.

Meanwhile, Kids & Company Corporate Child Care Services, located at 221 West Esplanade, received $250,000 in funding to create 80 new licensed spaces – 48 infant and toddler spaces, and 32 for children aged 30 months to school age.

After undergoing renovations, the centre is in the process of fully opening this month, according to Kids & Company CEO Sue Purser.

The $250,000 went towards the cost of creating the centre, purchasing some equipment and learning materials, as well as helping to create the outdoor play area, explained Purser.

Centre staff will collaborate with the Tsleil-Waututh Nation to teach the children about Indigenous culture through activities like language programs and drumming.

Kids & Company is also working with Harvest Project to support low-income families at the centre.

Parents will also have access to free workshops on topics such as toilet training and first aid, with dinner and child care provided while the sessions are running.

Full-time fees at Kids and Company is $1,940 per month for infants and toddlers and $1,635 for preschoolers.

These North Vancouver facilities are among the first to receive financial assistance under the Childcare BC New Spaces Fund, which will create approximately 22,000 new licensed child care spots across the province over the next three years.

The province announced in December that the owners of Smiling Stars Daycare in Edgemont Village received $250,000 under this funding program to renovate a commercial space to create 28 new licensed child care spaces – 12 infant and toddler spaces, and 16 spaces for children aged 30 months to school age.

Smiling Stars offers early-morning drop-offs and a monthly “date night,” in which the children can stay at the centre for dinner and be picked up as late as 8 p.m.

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