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City of Delta looking at pre-school programs

Delta’s Parks, Recreation and Culture Commission was told licensed pre-school programs have several benefits
delta childcare spaces
The Delta childcare strategy has 24 recommendations including working towards a goal of adding 1,051 new childcare spaces over 10 years to reach the Canadian average ratio of 27.2 spaces per 100 children, as well as maintaining a dedicated partnership with the Delta School District to explore the option of co-locating childcare programs in elementary schools.

The City of Delta is looking at locations to have more childcare spaces including licensed pre-school programs.

Council last year gave the go-ahead on a new childcare strategy and staff earlier this month outlined short-medium and long-term targets, as well as potential locations, for review by the Parks, Recreation and Culture Commission.

According to the 2020 Delta Child Care Action Plan, the largest need for child care programs is for three-to-five year olds, followed by six-to-12 year olds.

By 2030, Delta will require 1,051 more spaces to meet the Canadian average of childcare spaces per 100 children.

The short-term target from 2020-to-2022 will see the city add 183 more required spaces, while the mid-term from 2023-to-2025 will add about 305 required childcare spaces, and the long-term target from 2026-to-2030 would see another 563 more spaces.

The city is also looking at licensed pre-school programs.

Delta currently offers a Playtime Program two hours a day, two-to-three days per week at the North Delta Recreation Centre, Ladner Community Centre and Pinewood Recreation Centre.

Delta staff note in the Action Plan that the benefits of a licensed program includes longer hours, more support for children with needs as well as subsidies being available.

The proposed licensed pre-schools would include a three-year-old program running Tuesday and Thursday from 9:15 a.m. to 2:15 p.m. as well as a program for four-year-olds running Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 9:15 a.m. to 1:15 p.m. each of those days.

The proposed licensed preschool locations include the three recreation facilities, which would require amendments to their current licenses.

Staff note some of the details to be considered include the city’s Delta First Initiative, which gives residents two weeks advance registration before anyone else can sign up, as well as community demand and feedback from current childcare registrants.

A report on housing to council last year noted that there is an increasing number of residents ages 19 and younger as well as those ages 30-to-49 years moving to Delta.

“This may reflect the influx of young families moving into the community, a trend that could help offset the impact of an aging population. The trend may also flag for municipal staff and local service providers the need for services such as daycare facilities and recreational sports and leisure programs in the community,” the report states.