The Town of Drumheller has recently received a request for support from the Golden Hills School Division for the placement of a modular daycare centre at the Greentree School site.“We’re very much just in the exploratory phase, and it’s depending on whether town council wishes to go ahead with the application,” says Greentree Principal Anne Morgan.
Paul Salvatore, director of Community Services for the town, had reported to council on Monday, May 11. Salvatore had said that Golden Hills School Division (GHSD) has expressed interest in completing the grant application which would cover the hard costs of the approximately $200,000 valued facility. Greentree School would have to cover the hook-up fees for the modular facility, and GHSD would provide the land for the daycare.
“Having a daycare is an option for people that should be available,” says Greentree Principal Anne Morgan. “I’m all for it.”
Morgan says that although Greentree would have nothing to do with the managing and operating of the daycare facility, there are good opportunities for partnerships between the school and daycare, and having a facility so close to Greentree would benefit children when they make the move up to elementary.
“There were 45 families that indicated they would use the daycare,” said Morgan, “it's not a firm commitment, but it certainly sounds like something that would be used within the community.”
The questions on Salvatore’s mind is whether a private operator, a society, or the town would be interested in running the daycare facility, because Greentree would not have the licence to operate or manage the facility.
“In any situation where a new service is considering operations in Drumheller, we would expect thorough market research would take place,” said Salvatore. “In my opinion, the necessary research has not taken place.”
In lieu of such evidence, Alberta Child and Family Services has indicated Drumheller as a community with high demands for operations of a day care facility, but Salvatore said no reputable stats have been provided by the service to indicate the magnitude of needs of a daycare in Drumheller.
Salvatore suggested before making the commitment to the facility, council should undertake a thorough assessment of the need for the facility.
An estimate of the necessary staffing and outfitting costs has been completed, and Salvatore said they have calculated that the monthly net loss for the service would range between $7,500 to $9,000 a month.
“I’m not sure why there would be a loss, because in my mind you’d have to make sure your fee structure covers your day to day costs,” Morgan said.
“A tremendous amount of learning happens before the age of 5” Morgan said, “if you don’t have a stimulating childhood, imagine how hard it is to enter elementary already two years behind everyone else.”
“We need to have a better standard of quality for preschool children, and provide access to parents for good daycares. A daycare on the school site provides that connection between the two,” said Morgan.
“Government is realizing that these young children need the opportunity for this consistent standard of care.”
GHSD is prepared to submit an application before the deadline on May 22, with support from the Town of Drumheller.