Kwantlen Polytechnic University is renewing discussions on offering a daycare service as well as partnering with another post-secondary institution to create an early childhood education program at the university.
Diane Purvey, provost and vice president academic, says KPU has been in talks about starting this kind of program for a few years.
Having a space to accommodate young children at KPU would benefit the university and others, she says, which is why it has begun taking the steps to see how the school could eventually build a daycare at the Surrey campus.
“We feel very strongly that … having a daycare on-site at KPU is really important for student recruitment, student retention, and student success,” Purvey says.
If this program is developed, KPU is looking to provide care services for up to 60 children which will be made available to students and employees. Daycare at the school will be beneficial for families in Surrey due to the low number of childcare facilities available in the city, Purvey says.
Right now, the university is looking for ways to acquire government funding and renew discussions with another post-secondary institution that offers ECE programs in order to inform the framework of the new program at KPU.
Purvey says that the program will have a “strong Indigenous decolonization focus,” and that the university will be working with the Metis Nation of British Columbia in the development stages.
According to a Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives report from 2018, Surrey has “one of the lowest [child care] coverage rates (25%) of any large city in Canada.” The report shows that there are only 7,325 licensed child care spaces available for the 29,080 children in the city.
“One of the things we’re keenly aware of with early childhood educators as well is that the pay is not strong. That’s something that I know there’s been a lot of discussion [of],” Purvey says.
“I think that developing these competencies, and professionalizing ECE will hopefully result in a higher wage for early childhood educators as well,” she adds.
No concrete actions are in the works yet, as KPU is still having discussions about the daycare building.
“There’s still a lot to figure out, lots of discussions to have,” says Purvey.
“It’s not a sure thing yet, but it’s super exciting. I think it’d be fantastic to have a daycare on one of our campuses. I think it would do a lot for our students and for our employees as well.”