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Bonnyville daycare celebrates its first anniversary

The Bonnyville and District Daycare Centre celebrated its first anniversary last Tuesday, hosting a special party for kids to celebrate.

The Bonnyville and District Daycare Centre celebrated its first anniversary last Tuesday, hosting a special party for kids to celebrate.

David Beale, director at the daycare, said the centre has grown significantly over the last year, and he's proud of the accomplishments they've been able to achieve.

“I'm quite happy with the way the last year has gone,” Beale said. “There was a lot of angst at the start over whether or not it was financially viable, but we're very stable on that front and look forward to moving forward into our second year.”

The daycare currently has 40 children under the age of five registered for care Monday to Friday and Beale said he sees those numbers increasing in the future.

“We have a license for 52 kids at the moment and there is a waiting list to get kids in here,” Beale said. “The problem is we have a strict worker to child ratio rule here, so we need to hire more staff before we can accept more children.”

Coun. Jim Cheverie was on hand representing Bonnyville's Town Council at the celebration, stating his belief the daycare really holds the key for the potential growth of Bonnyville in the future.

“I think the re-opening and running of this daycare centre is of the utmost importance to this town,” Cheverie said. “Without this place, parents wouldn't have anywhere to leave their kids when they go off to work. Come to think of it, my wife works for the oil patch and the first question she is asked from workers coming from another province is ‘where is the daycare centre in Bonnyville'. And the fact of the matter is, if there isn't a licensed daycare, the workers don't come.”

Since being appointed to the Family and Community Support Services board and subsequently to the Daycare Board last year, Cheverie said he enjoys involving himself in events the centre runs.

“I worked all my life in the public service sector – tendering roads, infrastructure and all that stuff, so when I retired I wanted to involve myself in something I enjoy, something rewarding, so I got into this,” he said.

And there's nothing more rewarding than working with young children according to Hannah Mawer, program supervisor at the daycare.

“I honestly could not ask for a better job,” Mawer said. “It's so rewarding after working all week long planning and doing activities with the children for them to remember it the following week when they're doing something else.”

Since joining the centre upon its re-opening last April, Mawer has been hard at work coming up with activities that are not only fun for the children, but that engage their brain and get them learning too.

“We have three different programs for the different age groups,” Mawer said. “We have the toddler program for kids from 12 months to three years old, the pre-school program for children between the ages of three and five and then the transition program for those in between those ages to help them develop a little bit more. In each of those programs we do lots of learning activities, we share a gym with the families centre and have a huge play area outside. It's chaos most of the time, but definitely a lot of fun.”

Beale said the daycare would be moving forward on a number of projects over the course of the next year, with developing a community board of directors at the top of the list.

“Since the daycare opened, we've had board members from FCSS sitting on our board, but I'm keen for members of the community to come forward and get involved,” Beale said. “As well as that, we'll hopefully be able to achieve our accreditation standard certificate. At the moment we have the regular, basic certificate but the accreditation is sort of like the five star quality, provincial seal of approval thing, so we'll be shooting for that. And then of course, we'll hopefully be able to hire a couple new members of staff so we can take on more children.”

The daycare will be hosting its first annual general meeting at 7 p.m on April 11, and encourages all members of the public interested in volunteering and becoming members of the board to attend. For more information on the daycare visit www.bonnyvilledaycare.ca




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