Front row from left: Nick Ross

Front row from left: Nick Ross

On the hunt for childcare options

Now that school is back in session many parents will be looking for local, affordable daycare for their children.

Now that school is back in session many parents will be looking for local, affordable daycare for their children.

Some parents in the area are frustrated with what they perceive as an apparent lack of daycare services here in Lake Cowichan, especially since Kaatza Day Care closed its doors.

Recently, the Lake Cowichan Gazette asked parents to provide feedback, via Facebook, on the issue of day care, as well as who they use for day care services in the area. The question brought about some thoughtful discussion on the issue in general.

“My daughter attended Kaatza childcare from age one to five. They were amazing and about half the price of what my sister, who is also a teacher, would pay for a centre on the lower mainland where she works,” Michelle Davis posted.

“I wish Kaatza could re-open. Daycare is next to impossible to find unless you happen to know a couple of amazing people who can help,” posted Erica Blume.

The discussion also turned to how much daycare costs, and whether or not going back to work and placing a child in day care is worth it, considering these costs.

“I would love to go back to work, but I would basically be paying someone else to raise my children, as I would be taking home next to nothing after paying for child care for two of my three children (one starts kindergarten in September). Child care providers charge around $35 or more per day per child; I would be making minimum wage. That just does not add up!” posted Kaytee Nott.

“This is a real sore spot for me as I would love to contribute financially to my household, but child care costs make this impossible. The $100 per child Universal Child Care benefit does not go a long way toward the $1,200 or so I’d have to pay a child care provider,” she adds.

Some of the comments reflected the need for more day care in Lake Cowichan, with Nott saying that she would probably have to drive to Duncan to find child care services.

There are several options here in Lake Cowichan, one of them being Wanda’s Kids and Care. Wanda Wiersma offers licensed care for kids ages five to 12. She is open starting at 8:30 a.m., and offers after school care for those parents who work until later in the day from both Palsson and A.B. Greenwell Elementary Schools. A.B. Greenwell students are met at the bus stop behind Palsson.

Wiersma says that each parent is different in terms of what they look for in a day care.

From lots of kids and social interaction, to smaller groups and the ability for one on one care with day care providers, “it depends on the parent, it could go either way,” said Wiersma.

Wiersma says she has approximately 10 spots available, and parents can call for more information or to enquire about rates.

For those with children under five-years-old, there is Little Bears Day Care. Owner Larissa Kirk has been licensed since December.  Kirk does take school aged children as well.

Kirk says she focusses on fun learning activities, both inside and outside, that prepare children for school. She charges $35 per day which works out to $700 per month for full time care.

Tonnae Nichols of Cornerstone Daycare is licensed for children ages 0-12. She charges $35 per day for children who are not yet potty trained, $30 for children who are potty trained but not quite in school, and $25 for school aged children.

The province does provide childcare subsidies to help offset the cost of daycare, but these funds vary depending on the families circumstances and the Province’s website states that  “eligibility will be determined when your application and all supporting documents are received by the Child Care Subsidy Service Centre. You may be eligible to receive full or partial subsidy based on your family’s circumstances.”

Eligability is also dependant on the kind of childcare being provided, though funding is provided for those daycares that are not lisenced under the Community Care and Assisted Living Act but are registered in a Child Care Resource and Referral Program.

Other daycare providers in Lake Cowichan include, Three Little Birds Childcare, Little Ones Child Care, and Cowichan Lake Recreation’s Playschool for those who do not need full day care and whose children are three or four years-of-age.