Nearly 300 new licensed child care spaces in Surrey

FAMILIES in Surrey will soon have access to nearly 300 new licensed child care spaces as part of the Province’s ongoing commitment to increasing access to child care through the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond.

“Finding affordable child care is one of the largest obstacles in a growing city like Surrey,” said Mike Starchuk, MLA for Surrey-Cloverdale, on Thursday. “With these new spaces, we are bringing the affordable and quality child care needed for a young community such as ours.”

The Childcare BC New Spaces Fund is supporting five projects that will create 284 new licensed child care spaces Surrey. These spaces are part of the fastest creation of child care spaces in B.C.’s history and were part of the September 2020 milestone that marked more than 20,000 new spaces funded throughout the province in just over two years.

“Kwantlen First Nation is pleased to be working with Sandbox Early Learning to design the new child care centre in a way that reflects the history of the Aboriginal, First Nations and Métis communities and enhances the early learning experience for children from all walks of life,” said Cheryl Gabriel, education co-ordinator, Kwantlen First Nation. “We are proud to work with Sandbox Early Learning Centre to create a warm and inviting space for Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal children alike – our future leaders.”

New, licensed spaces are on the way for families at the following child care centres:

* Junior Einstein’s Academy (30 spaces)

* Khalsa Childcare Centre (26 spaces)

* Kings and Queens Childcare Centre (36 spaces)

* Playbox Learning Centre (44 spaces)

* Sandbox Early Learning (148 spaces)

“Surrey is a fast-growing community, and it’s important that parents can access the care they need close to home,” said Jason Bains, Executive Director, Sandbox Early Learning. “Our new centre will give parents in the Cedar Hills neighbourhood more child care options. I’m also very proud of our work with the Kwantlen First Nation to build an inclusive and culturally safe space for children.”

An additional 4,110 spaces, funded through the 2017 Budget Update and the Early Learning and Child Care agreement with the Government of Canada, takes the total number of new, licensed spaces funded in B.C. to more than 24,500 since July 2017.

“These new child care spaces for families in Surrey are bringing us one step closer to delivering the quality, affordable and inclusive child care that all B.C. families deserve,” said Katrina Chen, Minister of State for Child Care. “Child care for families is key to B.C.’s economic recovery, and these new spaces will make it easier for parents, especially mothers who have been disproportionately impacted by the pandemic, to return to work or school.”

Junior Einstein’s Academy
Renovations to expand the current Junior Einstein’s Academy added 30 licensed spaces, which opened in January 2021. This includes 15 spaces for children aged three years to kindergarten, five preschool spaces and 10 spaces for school-age children. The centre delivers inclusive child care with services offered in Hindi, Bengali, Tagalog and Mandarin. Children will have the opportunity to go on field trips to the Aboriginal Friendship Centre, Squamish Lil’wat Centre and Cheryl’s Trading Post.

Khalsa Childcare Centre
Renovations to two classrooms in the Khalsa School will create 26 new licensed spaces – 10 infant/toddler spaces and 16 spaces for children aged three years to kindergarten. Children with support needs will benefit from early childhood educators with specialized training. The child care spaces are expected to be complete in April 2021.

Kings and Queens Childcare Centre
Located in the heart of downtown Surrey, the new Kings and Queens Childcare Centre will add 36 licensed spaces – 12 infant/toddler spaces and 24 spaces for children aged three years to kindergarten. To help engage with families in the community, the centre will host monthly gatherings for mothers who are new arrivals to Canada to help them meet, connect and support their families’ settlement in Surrey. Kings and Queens is expected to open in May 2021.

Playbox Learning Centre
Renovations to a 279 square-metre commercial space will house the Playbox Learning Centre’s 44 new licensed child care spaces – including 24 infant/toddler spaces and 20 spaces for children aged three years to kindergarten – along with Academy Volleyball, which will offer year-round programming for youth. The new child care spaces are expected to open in May 2021.

Sandbox Early Learning Centre
The newly renovated Sandbox Early Learning Centre in the Cedar Hills neighbourhood will create a total of 148 licensed spaces – 48 infant/toddler spaces and 100 spaces for children aged three years to kindergarten. A partnership with Kwantlen First Nation will help shape the interior design of the building, with the goal of creating an inclusive learning environment for children. Sandbox will host monthly arts and crafts nights, as well as information sessions on topics like healthy eating and the stages of childhood development. The centre is expected to open in September 2021.