An Albertan experimental test site for cheaper daycare options, has been reducing childcare costs for families in the community.
The Daydreams & Sunbeams Early Learning Centre in High River has been selected out of a handful of childcare facilities in Alberta to be supported in order to offer local families $25 per day daycare.
Operator of the Daydreams & Sunbeams Early Learning Centre Julia Gwyn-Morris says so far, its had a significant positive impact on families.
"Feedback so far has been positive, which I don't think has been much of a surprise, we've had parents who cried when they looked at the impact of what it meant to have much less fees, and for some families they have been fully subsidized, which means zero fees. So for them, it could be a three, four, five hundred dollar difference [a month] for care."
Gwyn-Morris states that this option has enabled local families more flexibility, and less travel time when negotiating appropriate daycare for children, while they are at work.
"Parents in some cases were putting their children in daycare centres in Calgary, away from their community, paying exorbitant prices. What we want to do is encourage people to keep kids in their local community, have your children in your local community, where they can go to school and make friends."
According to Gwyn-Morris, not only does this add to the flexibility in terms of travel time and local availability but lower monthly costs have the potential to trickle into a better quality of life for families.
"What we wanted to see is that they were able to afford things like putting their kids into camp, possibly being able to move into a better living environment, or putting food on the table because maybe they were relying on the food bank more than they needed to, and maybe this extra three hundred, four hundred dollars a month, might be able to go into that."
The affordable rate is not set in stone yet, as the Alberta government has laid out a three year plan to test out its effects on the communities it's being offered in.
Gwyn-Morris says she's confident the government will continue to support this option if positive feedback continues.
"I would suggest that if it's working, and showing to support families and children, and if we're getting good results from the early learning sector, and if children have these advantages heading into the school system, and we know these studies are ongoing. Studies have shown if children are in a non-profit environment services are generally at a better quality."
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