Ministry opened discussion on learning hub strategy

A dialogue has been opened between ELCSAG in Golden, and the Ministry of Children and Family Development.

A dialogue has been opened between the Early Learning and Care Stakeholder Action Group (ELCSAG) in Golden, and the Ministry of Children and Family Development regarding the town’s early learning hub.

In the past provincial election, the BC Liberals announced a strategy to improve access to childcare and support the early years, a strategy that would include a $32-million commitment in funding for childcare spaces.

This announcement came as a nice surprise to ELCSAG, who had already been working towards an early learning and care hub in the community.

“It was my understanding that priority for these funds would be given to communities who are underserved with childcare spaces, which we are, and for projects that are being built on school grounds,” said Joanne McCullough, ELCSAG co-ordinator.

The plans for Golden’s early learning hub have it being built onto Alexander Park Elementary School.

“When the Liberals made this announcement, we kind of realized this could be the opportunity we were waiting for,” said McCullough.

The strategy, along with the funds, are in the early planning stages with the Ministry of Children and Family Development. But McCullough was surprised and encouraged when the ministry contacted ELCSAG to discuss the project via video conference.

“We’ve now entered into a dialogue with them, and we’re really encouraged by that,” she said.

Golden’s early learning hub got onto the ministry’s radar after the Golden Mayor and Council used some of their time with the Premier at the UBCM conference to discuss the project.

No timeline has been given as to when these funds will become available, but ELCSAG remains very determined to make this project a reality.

“We’re very thankful to the ministry for their interest in our project, as well as for their interest in early learning,” said McCullough. “Our team is very committed to this project, and we will make this happen.”