Child care programs are a key component of the Superior-Greenstone District School Board’s vision for a seamless and integrated system of programs and services. Following a funding announcement in February that would see the Geraldton Child Care and Best Start Center relocated in the B.A. Parker/Geraldton Composite High School complex, the school board has received confirmation from the Ministry of Education that the funding amount has increased from the $1.6 million that was initially reported, to just over $3.2 million. The school board, in partnership with the Municipality of Greenstone and supported by the Thunder Bay District Social Services Administration Board, will utilized the funds to retrofit and expand the current B.A. Parker Public School to include the Child 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 while we were very excited about the initial funding allocation, this increased funding will allow us to fulfill the original concept of what we had envisioned for this Child Care and Best Start Centre.
Early Years Lead and Superintendent, Nicole Morden Cormier indicated that the work has just started on this project. “Although we have been working with the architect, this announcement means that we can now move forward as we have the entire scope of the project that we had initially envisioned. We are just in the beginning stages of the consultation process with all of our stakeholders, including the Municipality of Greenstone, the schools and the agencies that are currently part of the B.A. Parker and Geraldton Composite High School complex, and of course, the Child Care itself.”
“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. We are extremely grateful to the Ministry of Education for funding this important project in our small, northern community.”