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St. Dominic school adds daycare program

Three and four-year old children in Cold Lake are benefitting from a new agreement between St. Dominic Elementary School and Happy House Daycare.
St. Dominic Elementary School in Cold Lake has joined forces with Happy House Daycare to offer services out of the school.
St. Dominic Elementary School in Cold Lake has joined forces with Happy House Daycare to offer services out of the school.

Three and four-year old children in Cold Lake are benefitting from a new agreement between St. Dominic Elementary School and Happy House Daycare.

The local school has joined forces with the daycare program to provide a daycare service to the parents who send children to the school.

“There is a huge need in our community for parents to have child care,” said Sr. Dominic principal Michelle Kaminski. “They often have older siblings and younger siblings, so this allows parents to have one place to come in the morning to drop their kids off.”

A total of 35 students aged two-and-a-half to five-years-old attend the daycare program, which is offered from 6:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 6:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday.

Ten of those students take part in the preschool program St. Dominic offers to three and four-year-olds, which runs from 8:45 a.m. to 11:15 a.m.

“It has been great,” said Kaminski. “Our preschool program is growing, which is great news.”

Officials from the Lakeland Catholic School District took some time over the course of the summer to observe Happy House Daycare and the services it provided. After a few visits LCSD was able to strike a deal with the daycare to move into St. Dominic School.

Two classrooms in the building were renovated and the program was able to successfully start this past August.

“We have been monitoring the results and so far they have been really positive,” said LCSD's Michelle Dargis.

The daycare has resulted in increased enrolment in the school's preschool program. These extra children have seen the four-year-old preschool program jump from 14 kids in 2014 to 24 kids in 2015.

While the daycare program is providing an invaluable service to parents in the region, the hope from the school board is that it leads to more students enrolling at St. Dominic.

“A lot of time with schools, if kids have been here for a while and have attended preschool, they tend to join the school in kindergarten,” said Kaminski. “Parents get to know some of the staff, and become more familiar with what is happening in the building.”

According to Dargis, LCSD is planning on exploring the possibility of entering into similar agreements with daycares for other schools in the District. Mentioning that Notre Dame Elementary School in Bonnyville could be a possible candidate.

“This is a model that we might want to explore for other elementary schools,” said Dargis.