Early stages of the Beanstalk Childcare Centre upgrade.

Early stages of the Beanstalk Childcare Centre upgrade.

Beanstalk Childcare Centre gets an upgrade

Angélique Batley, co-ordinator for Houston Community Services Association (HCSA), explained the recent renovation project

Angélique Batley, co-ordinator for Houston Community Services Association (HCSA), explained the recent renovation project for the Beanstalk Childcare Centre.

In June 2016, the childcare centre closed for its annual summer closure, which got extended in order to inaugurate the first stages of the project.

Last week the foundation footings were poured, and it is the hope of HCSA that, weather permitting, the building will be ready and on site in November, with regular programs running by the first week of January.

Funding of $370,952 was received from the provincial government to cover 80 per cent of the costs to rebuild Beanstalk as well as finance the additional programs the centre is implementing. The entire project cost sits just over $400,000.

“We’ve expanded our program to include an infant/toddler program, which is 12 months to about two and a half to three years, depending on what we want to do for licensing. And then a regular day program, which is essentially three to five years. A preschool program, which we have always run, which is for three and four year olds. And then hopefully an after school program as well, probably up to the ages of eight or 10, we haven’t really decided yet,” commented Batley.

These programs will be available during the regular childcare hours from Monday to Friday. Beanstalk is looking into doing a day camp program, as they will now be going into a full year term of accessibility, which means no more summer closures.

The upgrade of this building will also increase their capacity ratio for educators and children. The infant/toddler program will be able to take up to eight children. The three to five year old program can accept up to 16, and the preschool program can accept up to 10 for each class. And the after school program will range from 12 to 15 kids.

Employment positions for early childhood educators (ECE) are also now open.

“The positions have not been filled. We will be definitely doing some hiring in the next [couple of] months, to give people enough time to make sure they have their first aid certifications and make sure they register with ECE B.C.,” explainedBatley.

A preliminary registration for kids was done at the end of last year, but due to licensing complications Beanstalk is still actively pursuing getting the preschool and the registered children in day care going at St. Clements Anglican Church.

“Once we have a better idea of when we are opening, what our staffing situation looks like, what our licensing situation looks like, then we will do an open registration, probably on the third of January,” said Batley.

Beanstalk is still funding to cover the other 20 per cent of costs through grants and other streams of financial support, and are presently looking into starting a funding campaign.

“We need to cover the costs of our foundation, we need to cover the costs of the demolition that happened, taking out the old buildings, leveling out the lot a bit more. There will be more work in the spring. We’ll be leveling out the lot a bit more,putting in a fence, and hopefully changing or upgrading the play structures as well. So we’ll have an entirely new space,”said Batley.

“A huge part of this project for me is keeping as much of this money as possible within the community. We are attempting to make as many purchases as we can from within the community. So the money that we do receive, I want to say that 90percent of that will stay within our community. And that 10 percent is probably our building, which we went to the closest modular dealer, which was PineRidge in Burns Lake,” said Batley.

Beanstalk is accepting in-kind donations from volunteer time to product donations. Anyone that is interested in helping fundraise or wishing to submit a resume should contact Angélique Batley at coordinatorhoustoncsa@gmail.com. Updates about the project can been found also at the Houston Community Services Association Facebook page.