New daycare spaces coming to Columbia Valley

Mountain Ridge received $250,000 from Province to help open 41 new daycare spaces

The Province has invested $250,000 in Mountain Ridge Early Learning Program to fund 41 new daycare spots.

The funding will enable Mountain Ridge to offer eight infant and toddler spaces, eight for 3-5 year olds, 10 preschool spaces and 15 school-age spots. Karyn Rohrick, owner of Mountain Ridge Early Learning Program, says it was exciting to find out she received the funding.

“It means a lot that the Province is supporting childcare in our area,” Mrs. Rohrick told the Pioneer.

Mrs. Rohrick bought Mountain Ridge a little over a year ago. The centre, based out of the Windermere Community Hall, currently has 20 preschool spaces with eight full-daycare spots. Since taking over the centre, Mrs. Rohrick has seen a great need for more daycare spots.

“When I took on Mountain Ridge Early Learning Program over a year ago, I was surprised at how long our wait lists were for preschool and afternoon care. I was hearing from families that infant/toddler and after school care spaces were in even higher demand,” said Mrs. Rohrick. “I was also seeing that some of our children were making significant commutes to access our program. I started dreaming of a second location in Invermere.”

She started to look for opportunities to expand and set her mind on filling out the 52-page application form for the Province’s Child Care operating funding.

The project hinges on one more funding source before it can move ahead; Mrs. Rohrick hopes to hear back by February whether that funding will come through. If it does, the plan is to open up a second Mountain Ridge facility somewhere in Invermere close to the elementary school. She is waiting on the final piece of funding before making firm plans for which programs will operate in which facility.

“I hope my dream of having a full service centre becomes a reality. Ideally children will be able to enrol in our school and stay for all of their formative years. If children attach to a community of teachers and feel cherished and secure, that is when positive child development can happen,” Mrs. Rohrick states. “If the new centre moves forward, we hope to keep our Montessori approach. The learning environment will continue to be very hands-on, a place where children are free to play, learn, and discover. We are very strong in the arts so families can expect that to carry on. We would like to add more of a sustainable living focus to the program through gardens and animals.”

The funding is part of the Province’s $33 million investment for more than 3,800 childcare spaces in 52 B.C. communities.

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