The opening of the Sylvan Lake Child Care Centre was officially recognized last Thursday in a celebration with cake, a barbecue, and members of the community.
The centre actually opened August 2, 2011, said Lorrie Carrick, president of the Child Care Society. The society held the official opening a year later because of timing and dignitary availability issues. Carrick said they held the opening the same night as the Sylvan Lake Community Information Fair, which was located in the nearby community centre, to increase awareness of the child care centre.
The facility is the first daycare centre in Sylvan Lake for several years, said Carrick. It offers an alternative to day homes, and is staffed with employees trained in early childhood education.
Both preschool and baby/toddler spaces at the centre are full, with 17 available for each age group, for a total of 34. The centre takes children up to six years old.
The centre keeps children of similar ages together, said Carrick. This gives them a different experience from that of a day home.
Tricia Calen’s daughter, 4, and son, 2, have attended the centre since it opened.
“I have been waiting for a daycare centre to open in Sylvan. I like the idea of the environment and many caregivers on hand,” said Calen. She added that the daycare suited her schedule better than a day home.
“I liked that my holidays were mine … there’s always care every day,” said Calen. “I don’t worry about my kids being with one caregiver who may be overwhelmed.”
She also likes how the centre’s staff are especially trained to deal with young children.
“So you know that their chosen profession is childcare … You know that they want to be there every day. It’s been reliable for me,” she said.
Calen’s children have made friends at the centre, who they sometimes see around town.
“He’s learning how to really socialize in a group of peers,” said Calen of her son. She added that her children are also able to express themselves while at the centre.
“My kids run in and they skip out … like they’re happy,” said Calen.
Carrick said while the centre has been a challenging learning experience, it has also been a success.
“I’ve enjoyed the experience the whole way through.”