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Mén̓mens ta smánit

Coming Soon: Mén̓mens ta smánit childcare centre at Valleycliffe Elementary School

We are excited to share that construction has begun on the new childcare centre, Mén̓mens ta smánit, located at Valleycliffe Elementary School.

The new municipally-owned childcare facility will create 36 new full-time spaces – 12 infant/toddler spaces for ages 12 months to 3 years and 24 group care spaces for 30 months to school age. Creation of these new spaces and improving access to early learning are urgently needed in Squamish and are a priority for the District of Squamish, as outlined in the District of Squamish Child Care Action Plan.

Please check this page for updates on construction progress, the childcare waitlist process, and opening dates.

Below are answers to frequently asked questions.

What does the name Mén̓mens ta smánit mean?

Mén̓mens ta smánit will operate on the unceded, ancestral territory of the Skwxwú7mesh Úxwumixw (Squamish Nation). The Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish) name bestowed by the Nation for the childcare centre is Mén̓mens ta smánit. This name reflects the mountain that the children are underneath (Siy’ám’ Smánit, The Stawamus Chief), and suggests that the children belong to that mountain, or are under its care.

Listen and learn how to pronounce Mén̓mens ta smánit here

Who is involved in the project?

In 2023, the District of Squamish received $2,526,474 in funding from the B.C. Childcare BC New Spaces Fund to build and co-locate a municipally-owned childcare facility at Valleycliffe Elementary School. This is in partnership with School District 48 and Sea to Sky Community Services Society.

When will the childcare centre be open?

Building completion is estimated for December 2024, with the childcare program opening in January 2025.

Who will operate the childcare program?

SSCS is the long-term childcare operator for Mén̓mens ta smánit. SSCS has been operating childcare programs for many years in the Sea to Sky Corridor. We currently offer early childhood programs and school-age programs.

SSCS childcare programs are committed to providing inclusive quality childcare for children ages 12 months – 12 years where children are the heart of a respectful, collaborative community. We follow the BC Early Learning Framework (BCELF) and the inquiring interests of the children and educators. We use the BCELF as a guide to areas of learning including well-being and belonging, exploration and creativity, languages and literacy, and social responsibility and diversity.

How many childcare spaces will be offered at Mén̓mens ta smánit?

12 infant/toddler spaces for 12 months to 3 years and 24 group care spaces for 30 months to school age

How can I register my child for Mén̓mens ta smánit?

The waitlist is not currently open for these new programs but a date will be shared soon, please check this page for the waitlist opening date. Once the waitlist is open, you will find the new programs listed on the waitlist submission form: Early Childhood Programs, Waitlist Submission Form

Will Mén̓mens ta smánit be a $10 a day ChildCareBC Centre?

Upon opening, Mén̓mens ta smánit will not be part of the Provincial Government’s $10 a Day ChildCareBC program. Childcare program applicants must meet all 12 criteria to be eligible to participate including receiving the Child Care Operating Funding for a minimum of one year. However, SSCS will apply as soon as the programs are eligible.

Your family may qualify for the Affordable Child Care Benefit. You can find out if you qualify, and learn more about the application process here

What are the fees for Mén̓mens ta smánit?

Fees are yet to be determined and will be posted on our website in the fall of 2024. We anticipate the fee schedule will be comparable to other similar childcare programs in the community. The new Menmens ta smanit programs will not be eligible for the $10 a Day ChildCareBC program upon opening.

Where will the access be to Mén̓mens ta smánit?

Principal access to the future childcare centre will be from Hemlock Avenue. Area improvements will include a new fire hydrant to improve fire response, adding a light to an existing pole on Hemlock Avenue, as well as an improved accessible pathway leading into the school. With all neighbourhood-based childcare centres, active travel (walking and biking) is encouraged and will be supported with bike storage at the centre. Childcare drop-off and pick up parking will be designated and assigned within the District’s lands at John Hunter Park.

What can I expect if I visit the project site?

Site servicing and construction began in February 2024. The construction area has been fenced off for safety and security as well as setting tree protection areas along the property and site boundaries. Site visits by municipal staff, professional consultants and contractors will continue during construction.

How does my family continue to access the school during construction?

The Hemlock Avenue school access was closed at the start of construction in February 2024. The alternate safe route to school is via Birch Drive (shown below). Signage is installed on Hemlock Avenue indicating this alternate routing. Please see the Valleycliffe Active and Safe Routes to School Map

Who can I contact with additional questions?

For questions about SSCS childcare programs visit Child Care – Sea to Sky Community Services Society (sscs.ca)

Childcare Coordinators – for all program inquiries

Community updates on the facility’s progress will be posted to the District of Squamish Childcare Resources page

www.squamish.ca/childcare

For construction-related matters:

Shane Gilbertson, P.Eng (Non-Practising) | Project Manager, Facilities Planning & Construction, District of Squamish 778.266.3450 | gilbertson@squamish.ca

For project partnership and planning matters:

Sarah McJannet RPP, MCIP| Senior Planner, District of Squamish 604.848.9633 | smcjannet@squamish.ca

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