Letter to the editor – Addressing childcare in Fernie

The Fernie Child Care Society would like to express our appreciation toward the Elk Valley Child Care Advisory Initiative.

The Fernie Child Care Society would like to express our appreciation toward the Elk Valley Child Care Advisory Initiative for initiating and implementing the Childcare Barriers and Opportunities Survey.  We are very excited to see the conversation this has developed within our community, and hope that Elk Valley residents will take part in the upcoming survey to give a true picture of the childcare situation as it affects them. As a group of passionate Early Childhood Educators (ECE) and a Board of Directors comprised of parent and non-parent volunteers, we are dedicated to providing quality and affordable childcare in our community, and are aware of, and concerned by, the many barriers facing both parents and providers.

The childcare crisis is not unique to our area, but as Fernie is an incredible community in which to raise a family, we see an increase in the demand for care every year. As a provider, the largest challenge we face is recruiting qualified ECE staff to join our team in a time of national shortage. This is the key to us providing more spaces, shortening waitlists, further extending hours, and offering more flexibility for parents. We are always on the hunt for those who have chosen the rewarding ECE path.

As a not-for-profit society, we are constantly trying to lower our operational costs and raise additional funds in order to keep childcare affordable, raise employee wages, offer incentives such as our employee health care plan, which was implemented in 2014, and provide financial assistance to our staff in their continued educational pursuits. As a result of our efforts, we were recently able to extend our hours from 8:15 am to 4:45 pm, which we were all very happy to see happen.

We eagerly anticipate the developments and suggestions to come from this survey, and hope to see continued conversation and involvement from our community. Our recent move into the Max Turyk building to work amongst other child-focused programs was an exciting one, and we look forward to working together toward positive change and solutions for all.

 

The Fernie Child Care Society