A new daycare is set to open in Okotoks next week.

The Next Gen DayCare, is located in Westmount across from Tim Horton’s.

Owner and operator Nikolas Zetouni says aside from the need for more daycare services in town, he saw another need.

“I realized there seemed to be a bit of a lack of in terms of technology learning, STEAM, as you call it, Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Mathematics for this type of education, daycare, and out-of-school care. So, I thought if there’s a need, why not fill that need?”

Zetouni received a bachelor's in biology in his home country of Brazil before earning his master's in medical sciences in Canada.

He says the skills he picked up through his fields of education are invaluable, 

“I’m a person who hates math, but I had to handle statistics and of course financial education. Those are very important skills, those skills helped me through many phases of my life, so why not share with everyone, especially starting early in life, the need for those skills? The whole idea is that people will be exposed and understand that those are very novel 21st-century skills that anyone can have, and you don’t have to wait to get your master's or PhD to become good at.”

He says the STEAM approach to early learning aims to help kids develop these skills early on through play-based means to familiarize them with things like virtual reality technology, coding, and robotics.

They’ll be offering programs for toddlers and preschoolers, as well out of school care for kids aged six and up.

With Alberta’s plan to introduce $10-a-day daycare over the next few years, many daycare operators are concerned about how they’ll contend with costs.

Zetouni isn’t too worried about it, in fact, he thinks it could breed healthy competition in the sector and improve the quality of daycare services overall.

“With the $10 per-day daycare, it helps families that sometimes don’t have the means to pay for childcare. Also, if the government starts capping the price, this, I believe, creates a good side where those overpriced daycares, they’ll need to fit into that capped price, but at the same time, it allows for competitivity.”

Next Gen DayCare is holding a grand opening and open house event on Monday (Jan. 29) at 261-200 Southridge Drive from 4-6 p.m.

“We’re going to have the mayor and council members here starting at 4, then after that, we’ll have an open house to showcase what we’re going to be doing in the community, and there’ll be free donuts, so why not, right? If people don’t want to come for the grand opening, at least come for the donuts.”

More information can be seen on the event page on the Town of Okotoks website.