There seems to be growing concern for children’s safety. With media outlets like the CBC reporting an increase in playground injuries, experts are saying that parental supervision needs to be increased.
But in the Fernie School Aged Care program, children are encouraged to learn through their own experiences.
“If they climb and tree and fall down, then they’ve learned,” Fernie School Aged Care manager Brittany Villemair said.
And this method of teaching seems to be working.
This year, Fernie School Aged Care won the B.C. Ministry of Child and Family Development Childcare Award of Excellence in Innovation. The facility, owned by Mandy Potter, was among 15 of 5,000 licensed childcare facilities chosen for this award.
“It felt great, it felt really nice to have the recognition in the community,” Villemair said.
The for-profit facility provides care for children in kindergarten through Grade Six every weekday from 3 to 6 p.m.
In Fernie, where there is a shortage of childcare facilities, it is important for parents to have a program with reliable and consistent staff members, Villemair said.
“We have great staff, our parents are so grateful and appreciative and are constantly saying ‘thank you.’”
Villemair has been managing the 24-child after school club at Max Turyk School for nine months now.
Although there are only 24 spaces available in the program, Villemair said they have about 40 children registered for the after school club and the Fernie School Aged Care summer camp — a day camp program that runs from July 7 to August 27.
During the summer months, the physically demanding program focuses on play-based activities and child centered activities, Villemair noted.
“We try to make it fun and interesting,” she added. “If they’re really into cars then we’ll do a whole week on cars.”
Although the program started three years ago, Villemair said it wasn’t until this year that it began filling up.