The Tsq’escen’ First Nation has received approval to move forward in building an urban Aboriginal Head Start Child Care Centre in 100 Mile House.
The centre will offer full-time child care for Indigenous, Metis and Inuit families living off-reserve within 100 Mile House and the surrounding area.
An expression of interest was submitted to the Aboriginal Head Start Association of BC in March of 2023 and they were notified near the beginning of May that they had been accepted. Currently, they are now working on the Implementation Proposal which is due July 31. The project has been in the works for approximately 3 months. Funding for the project comes from the Aboriginal Head Start Association of BC.
Tami Archie, the early childhood education manager at Tsq’escen’ First Nation said, “We are so excited that our application to move forward was approved and looking forward to building partnerships and expanding our services for Indigenous families in and around the 100 Mile House area.”
The band is looking at a couple of different locations within 100 Mile House and is hoping the centre will be operational by March of 2026. There will be between 34 to 45 seats available for children ages birth to six years old.
Tsq’escen’ First Nation Chief Administrative Officer, Laurelee Bennett said, “Tsq’escen’ First Nation has been providing enhanced growth and development supports through their Eliza Archie Daycare centre for 20 years in the community. Tami and her team of highly qualified ECE workers have extensive experience in this area.”
It will be a challenge to find qualified ECE workers due to a shortage across the province, however, the implementation committee has been discussing ways to attract and find ECEs, said Archie.
The band is excited about what this opportunity could bring to the community of 100 Mile House in the spirit of reconciliation and the development of partnerships to meet the needs of urban indigenous families.
Bennett said they are looking for input from Indigenous, Metis and Inuit families who live in the 100 Mile and the surrounding area regarding operations of the child care centre, involvement and any feedback as to what families are needing when it comes to child care, culture, traditions and language
A meeting for applicable families will be held on July 14 at 5 p.m. at the South Cariboo Rec Centre in 100 Mile House.