Eight toddlers have daycare spaces in a new childcare centre at Cheakamus Crossing after the much-needed facility opened this week. The new spaces made a small impact for the almost 200 children under the age of three in Whistler currently waiting for daycare spaces to become available.
Kate McCormick opened the new facility, called Mountain Minis Childcare, on Monday, Jan. 6 in the space that was used as an athletes' lounge during the 2010 Olympic Winter Games. McCormick has set up the large space on Legacy Way to care for more than 30 kids between the ages of six months and five years.
"We have eight spaces in Junior Preschool," said McCormick, during an open house on Saturday, Jan. 4. "The eight spaces are all filled."
According to the acting director of child care services at the Whistler Children's Centre, about 180 kids under the age of six have their names on a waiting list to get into Whistler's largest childcare centre in the middle of the community on Nesters Road.
Kirsi Pereda said 90 to 95 per cent of the names on the waitlist at her centre are toddlers and infants. She said the demand for spaces for children under three years of age is high because they need more attention than kids three and over.
"You need one teacher per four infants and toddlers whereas for three to five it's per eight children," said Pereda.
A shortage of licensed teachers is also an issue that makes things more challenging for parents searching for childcare.
McCormick has a staff of five at her new Cheakamus Crossing facility. She said most of the children attending her new daycare facility live in the Cheakamus Crossing neighbourhood but one of her clients lives at Emerald Estates.
So far the Senior Preschool program has five kids in it with room for 20 more.
The new centre operates between 7:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. on weekdays.
McCormick's mission statement for the new childcare centre indicates the approach at her centre is based on best practices recommended by the National Association for the Education of Young Children and the Head Start Performance Standards along with other guidelines.
She said her husband and her mother are supporters of the new venture. Her family members helped finance the venture, built the storage structures in the centre and set up the facility.
Anyone interested in learning more about the new service at Cheakamus Crossing can go to the company's Facebook page or send an email message with questions to McCormick at firstname.lastname@example.org.