A Christian church in Valleyview recognized a need for child-care spaces within its congregation and is now planning a fall opening of a non-profit day-care facility welcoming everyone in the community.
Gateway Children’s Centre will offer three programs with 95 new childcare spaces and be located on the bottom floor of Gateway City Church, which is at 163 Oriole Rd.
For the past two years, Gateway Children’s Centre director Natalie Statham said, the church has been working to provide day-care services.
She said the child-care centre will be inclusive and accept everyone, regardless of religious affiliation.
Programming will have a Christian element, with prayers before meals, celebration of Easter and Christmas and the encouragement of values like patience, honesty and giving back to one’s community. A sock drive is planned during colder weather and church seniors will volunteer to teach skills like gardening.
“Everyone is welcome here,” Statham said.
Statham said the church had sufficient space for a child-care centre, so it applied for and received grant funding through a B.C. child-care new spaces grant.
The grant provided startup funds for construction, renovations and play spaces. Indoors, the centre will have 3,000 square feet of day-care space, as well as 5,000 square feet of space outside. Most of the time will be spent outdoors, Statham said, noting children “thrive” in outdoor spaces.
“We have a big space in front, grass, and then we have a blacktop area out back that we’re going to have for basketball and wheeled toys,” she said. “Wheeled ride-ons, tricycles, things like that.”
Statham said the centre will offer morning and afternoon preschool care (ages 30 months to school age), full-day care (ages 30 months to school age) and before and after-school care, with transportation.
“Right now, we are seeing what schools require care, the need for transport and then we will decide,” she said. “Right now, South Sa-Hali and Pacific Way seem to be in need of to and from transportation, plus after-school care.”
The centre will be open until 6 p.m., with the goal of accommodating parents’ work schedules.
Statham said the hope is to open by the time school begins in early September. Construction is thus far on schedule. Registrations are underway.
For more information, go online to gatewaychildcare.ca.
“We have a waitlist and we’re taking registrations,” Statham said. “I’ve gotten quite a few registrations already. There is such a need for child care.”