Parents have some options available to them when it comes to early childcare in Ponoka.
The Ponoka Child Care Centre is opening its doors Sept. 3 for children aged 12 months to kindergarten age. Shannon McArthur, owner and program director, wanted to give parents with an option of full-time day care as there is none in Ponoka.
The day-care centre is on the lower level of the Word of Life Church but is a separate space from the church. Her goal is to provide care and learning to kids before they are ready to go into elementary school. “To me what’s important is the overall development of the child.”
McArthur feels her teaching background is an important tool to work with children and meet provincial standards of care.
“This is a space dedicated to children,” McArthur added.
Creating a lasting impression on the children is what she looks forward to most of all. Right now the centre is offering full-time care for children; special rates are available to kindergarten students and if parents require part-time care, McArthur will consider the option.
“We work on the idea of guaranteed care,” she said. “We always have a spot for you.”
She is taking applications from staff and has hired her sister-in-law Heather McArthur to work with the centre. Heather has six years’ experience as an education assistant and McArthur has been teaching between children for the last 10 years.
“We’re definitely focused on the milestones of children…That’s definitely important to me as a teacher,” she explained.
The daycare is open Monday to Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. For those interested in finding out more, an open house is set for Aug. 29 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. or call 403-704-0166.
Home care available for children
Another licensed business parents can get home care is with Little Treasures Family Day Home. The company has been in business for 20 years, giving parents a place for their children.
Providers are available before and after school and on weekends to allow parents a chance to drop their children off, says co-ordinator Crystal Ahtila. Little Treasures has 12 caregivers who are able to meet parents’ needs. “We place them (children) with appropriate providers,” said Ahtila.
As an accredited business able to provide childcare, providers must be able to offer multicultural programs for children and meet their development needs. Care is usually provided in caregivers’ homes “These girls work pretty hard to get accreditation.”
Each of the 12 providers is trained in basic first aid, and two are certified as childcare supervisors. Four others are working to become certified as child development workers. These provincial requirements are a way of guaranteeing proper childcare, said Ahtila. “A lot of parents enjoy knowing that security is there.”
“It’s a family environment,” she added.
Providers must also undergo a criminal check.
A place to be after school
The Ponoka Youth Centre offers after school care for children aged five to 11 years and also the School’s Out Days program starts Sept. 3; the centre provides activities for parents’ children when there is no school owing to professional development days.
“It’s a place that kids can go. They can have fun and meet new kids,” says Morgen Chernick, program director for the youth centre.
There are also programs for teens aged 12 to 17 or Grades 7 to 12. There is a teen drop-in Friday and Saturday nights from 6 to 10 p.m. giving youths a place to have fun.
“It’s a safe, supportive, supervised environment,” said Chernick.
The goal is to give kids a chance also to build social skills. “We have programs for kids kindergarten to Grade 12,”
For more information on other youth programs offered check out the centre’s website: http://www.ponokayouthcentre.com/.
All three centres are licenced and accredited by the provincial government and all offer government subsidies for eligible families.