Child care is about to undergo a significant facelift in the Municipality of Greenstone. Superior-Greenstone District School Board, in partnership with the Municipality of Greenstone and supported by the Thunder Bay District Social Services Administration Board, has received confirmation that their application to relocate the Geraldton Day Care and Best Start Center to the B.A. Parker and Geraldton Composite High School complex has been approved. The school board will receive $1.6 million from the Ministry of Education to retrofit and expand the current B.A. Parker School for the Day Care and Best Start programs.
Director of Education, David Tamblyn stated that, “this project has been the vision of our School Board and the Municipality for a number of years, and after several attempts to secure funding, we have been successful.” This capital project funding supports the government’s recent announcement to create an additional 100,000 new, licensed child care spaces for infants, toddlers, and preschoolers over the next five years.
“We are excited with the announcement of funding for this project,” said Mayor Renald Beaulieu “It will improve access and the quality of daycare services within Greenstone.”
Early Years Lead and Superintendent, Nicole Morden Cormier believes that “the key to our success in this round of funding was the partnerships that existed and the letters of support from the community of Geraldton. Not only did we receive letters from the School Board and Municipality, but from the Thunderbird Friendship Centre, Confederation College, and from the staff of B.A. Parker Public School and Geraldton Composite High School. I believe that this meant a great deal in this process as it signifies that this community believes in the positive impact on children and families that this integrated program can have.” Further to this, Morden Cormier stated that, “the collaborative planning work that occurred with Nancy Proteau, Director of Community Services from the Municipality of Greenstone, demonstrates the true partnership that is just beginning.”
The School Board indicated that there are many advantages to this relocation, including the expansion of the current Geraldton Child Care to include an infant program, which they currently do not have. For families, it also means access to services all under one roof. The current school complex is already a “partial” hub as it houses Contact North Distance Education, a Confederation College Regional Campus, and a community swimming pool run by the municipality. Greenstone Day Care Center currently runs a before and after school program which would also be relocated; with licensing, children will have an opportunity to utilize the facilities currently located in the school including the library, classrooms, and the gymnasium.
“This expansion,” explained Tamblyn, “supports the School Board’s vision of redefining the term “school” to reflect the notion of hubs that increasingly support families through high quality, accessible programs and services, from birth to adulthood. In small, northern communities, it is imperative that programs and services be thought of in this integrated manner, in order to reduce costs while still meeting the needs of children and families.”
“This project has been funded to include a Best Start and child care; and we are going to work with all of the stakeholders to ensure that we maximize this opportunity. We are truly excited about the possibilities for children, families and for the new partnerships that will grow as we expand this complex.”