There are 37 new daycare spaces in Hope this fall, thanks to a jointly-funded effort to build a new, group-licensed children centre. The centre will also provide two preschool sessions for three and four year olds.
Swetexel Daycare and Preschool celebrated with an open house on Sept. 10 and the Read Right Society. The centre was made possible with funding from the Ministry of Children and Family Development’s child care major capital funding program, and Ministry of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation, the Read Right Society, and partners Grace Baptist Church and Yale First Nation.
“We’ve been working on this project for over two years, and we are excited to open the doors,” said Jodi McBride, executive director of Read Right Society. “Families have been patiently waiting through the building process and we are thrilled to finally welcome children and families through the doors.”
Swetexel, pronounced swa tay hil, is Halkomelem for rainbow and symbolizes diversity and the unique partnership between RRS, GBC, and YFN.
“Swetexel is more than a daycare, it’s a reconciliation project,” said Jeff Kuhn, Lead Pastor of Grace Baptist Church. As partners, we want to forge a new direction by putting reconciliation into action and creating a better future for our children. We hope to do this by working together as leaders, and creating a safe space for all children and families to learn together.”
Swetexel implements a Reggio Emilia philosophy, encouraging children’s curiosity, allowing it to drive their interest and learning. With this philosophy, Swetexel’s curriculum respectfully teaches all cultures, with a special focus on aboriginal ways of being, in effort to restore lost local culture and language.
“I’m happy to know there is a place in Hope where our collective children can learn together about who they are and where they come from. With our Swetexel commitment to our children, our family traditions will be acknowledged and new ones will grow,” said Chief Ken Hansen, Yale First Nation.
Swetexel gains cultural support and guidance from Yale First Nation, Seabird Island Daycare, and as a member of Many Voices, One Mind, a nonprofit association of Indigenous early childhood development service providers from across the Fraser Region.
Swetexel is licensed for 37 full-time spaces, including for children as young as 12 months, and children with disabilities. Swetexel is the first Group Licensed Child Care provider in Hope to accept children at such a young age, making it possible for more families to return to work after maternity leave. Additionally, Swetexel offers two preschool sessions for three and four-year-olds respectively.
And the centre has opted into the Child Fee Reduction Initiative, which contributes up to $350 a month per child.
Families do not need to apply for the fee reduction.
Read Right Society is excited to bring the service to families.
“We have fantastic staff who are passionate about children and this new venture, including Sandi Swecera, our manager who is known around town as ‘Miss Sandi,’” said McBride.
Swecera has more than 15 years’ experience in the early years field and believes in creating safe environments for children to learn and develop. Swecera is a 2009 Childcare Award of Excellence recipient, and creator of a Music and Movement program.
“The beautiful thing about living in a small community is I get to see the children as they grow up. In the grocery store, at the bank. Teenagers run up to me and say ‘Hi Miss Sandi!’. I’m honored to be a part of their lives,” said Swecera.
A grand opening was held earlier this month. The centre is located at 949 3rd Ave., Building 2.
For more information or to register your children, call 1-236-442-2002 or 1-604-206-9553.