Daycare is a big issue in most cities and towns across the province today, and it’s no different here in Tillsonburg.
That’s why a group of local residents are coming together to form what will be known as the Tillsonburg Little School – a non-profit organization and daycare looking to open in September 2013.
The anticipated need for an additional child care centre in Tillsonburg arose after learning of the pending closure of the First Baptist Weekday Nursery (FBWN) at the end of June.
“There’ll be a lot of families in need if this closed and we weren’t to re-open a new one,” said Jo Vallee, president of the board of directors for the Tillsonburg Little School. Although there currently is two other daycares in Tillsonburg, Vallee explained that neither of them have the space to expand their services.
A new advisory committee was recently formed said Vallee, comprising of past and present parents and staff members, in addition to other members of the community. Their goal is to re-locate the existing dedicated staff members and continue the exceptional childcare program in a new location under the direction of the new board of directors.
“We thought it was quite a shame to see a daycare like that that’s been run for so long with such great staff,” said Vallee. “The children just love the people that run that program and all the programming that they provide.
“We have the commitment of all of the staff that are currently employed there - coming with the new daycare and the current administrator is actually volunteering to sit on our board to be a consultant member,” she added. “So we’ll have almost the entire staff team fully intact.”
The new daycare will run a toddler and pre-school program for children ages 15 months to school age, depending on what age a child will attend full-time school.
Vallee noted a possible concern regarding the closing of the FBWN this summer.
“There’s still parents in the Tillsonburg community that are currently enrolling their children in the First Baptist Weekday Nursery - even though it’s closing in a few weeks time,” she said. “That really demonstrates the need for service in the area.”
It is expected that there will be 50 or more families out of daycare service when the FBWN closes after 42 years of serving the people of Tillsonnburg.
“The First Baptist Weekday Nursery historically, has always carried a waitlist,” explained Vallee, noting that the Tillsonburg Little School will most likely have a waiting list as well, and are currently compiling a list.
At present, the group is currently in the planning stages, awaiting approval by the Ministry of Education and the County, and are fundraising to help with anticipated operating costs including lawyers fees, engineering plans, renovations and needed upgrades to the building, located at 102 King Street in Tillsonburg – the new home for the Tillsonburg Little School daycare.
“We’re a non-profit organization but there’s all kinds of start-up costs that are required – about $20,000 dollars worth or more that we’re fundraising for currently,” said Vallee.
Although full day learning will be introduced in Ontario Schools this fall, Vallee said there will still a big need to fill in Tillsonburg.
“Once full-day learning happens for all of the schools, which it hasn’t
yet in Tillsonburg, there’s still going to be parents that hold their children back that aren’t ready to start when they’re 3 and 4 years old, that we can still offer full-time daycare for.”
If you are interested in enrolling your children in daycare, need child care or would like more information, you can visit their Facebook page Tillsonburg Little School or email Jo Vallee or Sarah Chanda-Bruder at firstname.lastname@example.org