WRDSB Families Want Choice PRESS RELEASE
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – January 31, 2012
Parents Group Encouraged by Extended Day Program Progress
We would like to express our complete support for the Waterloo Region Early Learning Coalition (WRELC). Specifically, we support whole heartedly the coalition’s efforts to work with the school boards in Waterloo Region to strengthen child care for all, as they stated in their new conference on January 30, 2012. As parents with children cared for by coalition day cares located at Waterloo Region District School Board (WRDSB) schools, we hope that all concerned can come together to exceed the Province of Ontario’s requirements for extended day programs as part of the full day Kindergarten initiative, as well as ensure the best possible daycare system for the Region of Waterloo.
As parents, we have grave concerns with the WRDSB’s current plan to replace the coalition’s existing programs for 4 to 7 year olds with a program run by the board. While we applaud the board’s initiative and commitment to provide before and after school programs to as many children as possible, we feel that the best choice for our children is to continue our relationship with our existing day care providers. These not-for-profit day cares have, in most cases, been providing high quality and affordable day care for decades.
The board’s current extended day offering does not include, or has not committed to including, features that our families have depended on for years. These features include:
- Care for ALL grades from Junior Kindergarten to Grade 6
- Care that is affordable for toddlers and preschoolers, where care is usually more expensive
- Care for special needs students who are in third party programs today
- Care the meets or exceeds the Ontario Day Nurseries Act
- Care during the summer
- Care that meets strict safety standards, including a minimum of two Early Childhood Educators (ECE’s) on site at all times
In addition to the coalition’s new conference, there has also been great progress from each of the two school boards.
The Waterloo Catholic District School Board (WCDSB) announced they will allow third party day care providers to continue to serve the 4 to 7 year old age groups. We understand that consultation with parents will continue, and details still need to be finalized. We appreciate the effort it took for the WCDSB to review their current plan, and the courage it took the board to change course to ensure that children’s needs are always put first. This is great news for families of the WCDSB.
Meanwhile, we sincerely thank the group of WRDSB trustees, lead by Trustee Hendry, who put forward a motion directing staff to review and evaluate different models for the extended day program, included models that would allow third party day cares to continue to serve the 4 to 7 year old age groups. We encourage all trustees to pass this motion so that staff can quickly begin work, and to continue to emphasize the need for a role for the coalition day cares. We would also like to express our gratitude to Trustees Watson and Harrington, who recognized early the challenges that parents and third party day cares faced with the board’s current plan. Along with parents, they kept this issue alive while other trustees became educated on the issue.
We understand that the WRDSB has a difficult task ahead of them to meet the provincial requirements for the extended care program while evaluating alternatives at this late date. As parents, we would love the opportunity to work collaboratively with the WRDSB and the coalition partners to ensure ALL children requiring day care services in the region end up winning. Our desire as parents is to use this opportunity to renew our relationship with the WRDSB, and to help the WRDSB and the coalition become shining examples to the rest of the province of how school boards and day care providers can support and strengthen the entire daycare ecosystem.
WRDSB Families Want Choice is a group who supports the WRDSB adopting an extended day care delivery method that allows families of 4 to 12 year olds the choice to stay with their current third party day care providers. Visit us at www.wrdsbdaycare.com to sign the petition and learn about this important cause.
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