The Nisga’a Nation will be opening up the first licensed childcare centre in Gitlaxt’aamiks this September.
The province is providing $492,585 under its Childcare BC New Spaces Fund to provide the new Nass Childcare Centre, which will be able to care for up to 12 infants and toddlers and 20 for children from 2.5 years until they’ve reached school age, in an effort to help families stay in the Nass Valley.
“The new Nass Child Care Centre will certainly be beneficial for many young Nisga’a families in the Nass Valley who are seeking to further their education or enter the workforce,” says Eva Clayton, president of the Nisga’a Lisims Government in a press release.“The close proximity to the schools and the Nation’s institutions will also prove beneficial to our young families.”
The centre, which will be operated by School District 92, is expected to integrate the Nisga’a culture in its early education program with elders regularly visiting to speak in their language to help preserve oral history, teachings and heritage practices. Children will also be given a free hot meal to promote healthy eating.
“Indigenous early childhood education is a key part of our government’s childcare BC plan,” says minister of state for childcare Katrina Chen in the press release.
“We are working in partnership with School District 92 and the Nisga’a Lisims Government to bring quality, affordable childcare to the region, supporting families in the four area communities who want or need childcare.”
The press release reads that the centre will be converted from a former student residence, and located minutes from the Nisga’a Elementary and Secondary schools.
Under the Childcare BC New Spaces Fund, childcare providers can apply for funding to create new childcare space anytime throughout the year. Since July 2018, approximately 9,000 new licensed child care spaces were funded throughout the province.