The Early Learning and Care Stakeholder Action Group (ELCSAG) is celebrating a win this week after Golden was chosen to receive an Early Years Centre by the Province and the Provincial Early Years Office. The site will be one of only 12 test sites across the province.
“We are extremely grateful to the Early Years Office for selecting us and we’re very excited about the opportunity to provide this service to our children and families,” said Joanne McCullough, ELCSAG’s coordinator.
The centre will be an all encompassing facility for early childhood development that promises to have benefits for parents and children alike.
“This place will be family friendly, it will be a place where parents and children can go to get information, to mingle with their peers, to play with some toys that are there and speak with early learning professionals,” McCullough said.
ELCSAG partnered up with the Early Childhood Development Coalition (ECDC) and Golden Community Resources Society (GCRS) for the successful bid. ELCSAG will now receive $52,000 per year from the B.C. government as part of the agreement to host the test centre, which will allow for the hiring of a part-time facilitator to oversee the facilities programming.
The facility could also benefit programs that are currently running already but are in need of more space.
“For example Bubbly Babies is a program that is run through public health, and they offer a great program that parents love to attend,” McCullough said. “But it’s now being run in the hospital and they find their numbers are declining and they believe it is because parents don’t want to go to the hospital. So this is going to be a really warm and welcoming and friendly place for families to go. It’s like a family drop-in centre.”
McCullough isn’t sure when the facility might open its doors, but hopes that it will be up and running sometime this fall.
The news of the test centre comes just over a week after ELCSAG sent in its $500,000 grant application to the Province for its early learning and child care hub. A decision for that application isn’t expected until next month, but McCullough doesn’t believe the successful bid for the Early Years Centre will hinder the grant application for the early learning hub.
“I think if anything it strengthens our application. It shows that our community is dedicated to the early years,” she said.