Last year, UBC child care services celebrated its 40th anniversary, an event which was made all the more exciting by coinciding with the opening of 5 new daycare centres on campus.
Over 800 current and former parents, staff and attendees of UBC child care facilities were present at the festivities, a testament to the strong relationships and sense of community that UBC child care fosters. Darcelle Cottons, Director of child care at UBC describes these strong ties, noting that the child care centres become “like a home base for you. The child care becomes the centre of your experience here. The daycare centres have potlucks at Christmas and they have summer potlucks where parents bring food and we gather together and they get to know each other.”
Cottons, who has spent the past 18 years managing child care services at UBC, notes that she has witnessed a considerable amount of growth and expansion over the years. When she came to her role, there were 8 child care programs in place serving approximately 220 children. Today, there are more than 22 programs accommodating over 460 children at UBC. With so many programs available, UBC child care is more capable than ever of meeting the specific needs of each family. Despite this growth, those who wish to access UBC child care services need to be aware that there is a waiting list that can be quite lengthy, exceeding 2 years at times for children who are under 5 years of age. Cottons suggests that anyone who is thinking of coming to UBC should apply for child care as soon as possible in order to avoid the barrier that a lack of reliable child care services can present to potential students.
Once a child is accepted into UBC child care, there are a variety of programs available for parents to choose from. Services are available for infants as young as 4 months old all the way up to children who are in the 7th grade. Regularly scheduled programs run between 8:00am and 5:30pm, with before and after school programs available at extended hours. Child care services at UBC are integrated into the university community, and parents have the opportunity to occupy a parent duty position, whereby they agree to volunteer 1 or 2 hours a week to work within the programs in exchange for a small fee reduction. This is only one of many ways that parents can become involved with UBC child care.
UBC child care operates under the belief that the best interest of children and families is served through partnerships with parents, caregivers, and support staff. For this reason, parent advisory committees are regularly consulted in order to achieve a level of care that is compatible with family desires.
Anyone who thinks that they may be interested in accessing child care services should consult the website at http://www.childcare.ubc.ca for information about programs that are available and fees associated with child care. Parents should also check to see if they qualify for a provincial child care subsidy, in order to help meet some of the limitations that costs may place on receiving quality child care.