Ten new after-school care spaces have opened up in the South Cariboo, thanks to a provincial program that facilitated the expansion of a long-running daycare.
Jamie Hughes-Rywaczuk, owner of Small Explorers Daycare in 105 Mile, successfully applied for capital funding under the province’s Childcare BC New Spaces program earlier this year.
The funding allowed her to build an expansion to her house for a separate daycare space. This will be utilized by her existing daytime pre-school program and will allow for 10 spaces of after-school care.
“There is definitely a need for after-school care in our community,” Hughes-Rywaczuk said. “There isn’t a lot available, and a lot of the other daycares don’t offer after-school care because it’s hard to swing with their daytime kids. A lot of them run from 9 to 5 so they don’t have the room for kids after school.”
Because her daytime program wraps up at 3:30 p.m., Hughes-Rywaczuk said creating this new space was the perfect opportunity to fill a gap in local childcare options.
Having run her daycare programs out of her house for 22 years, she also said it’s nice to be able to have a designated space separate from her home to work, especially for her daughters who are 12 and 8 years old.
“They need to come home from school and have their home,” she said. “They’ve always shared everything, including our home, so it’s nice to have that separated now.”
With school starting this week, Hughes-Rywaczuk is excited to fully utilize the space, which has an open concept plan with plenty of windows and daylight, natural decor and toys, local artwork and easy access to the outdoor play area.