84 new childcare spaces for Kamloops, but first help goes to frontline workers - InfoNews

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84 new childcare spaces for Kamloops, but first help goes to frontline workers

Stephanie Morrison in front of the new building to be used for Bumble and Bean daycare.
Image Credit: FACEBOOK / Stephanie Morrison
April 13, 2020 - 4:45 PM

During a pandemic might not be the best time to start a new business, but that didn’t stop Stephanie Morrison from buying an old church to start a new daycare.

“Right now we have almost 200 children on our waitlist, parents have been waiting for years to get into our centres… we’re really happy to now be able to offer nearly double our spaces,” Morrison said.

Morrison started Bumble and Bean daycare 13 years ago in her home, and now the former church will serve as the largest of the four locations. Morrison expects ten new staff to assist with the 84 anticipated child care spaces to open at the Westsyde centre. The location, the first commercially owned for Morrison, will nearly double the number of children and staff at the other three locations.

Morrison planned to renovate and open the newest daycare for the start of the upcoming school year but decided to change course.

“We were going to open in September, but with COVID-19 now we’re trying to open up earlier, as early as May to open up those spaces to accommodate essential service workers and front line staff, and then after that, we’ll re-open hopefully in the fall,” she said.

Morrison said that attendance at the daycares has dropped dramatically since COVID-19 hit. Despite this, she’s working to open the doors early to help front line workers and offer more space to help with the social distancing requirements of other facilities.

“We typically offer 88 spaces between all three locations…. we’re down to about six between all three,” Morrison says. “What we’re finding is a lot of families are opting to not send their child to daycare, even if they are essential service workers… we’re finding there’s not a lot of need currently, but as this goes on that might change.”

If day-to-day living returns to normal by September she says the facility will be renovated to accommodate the 84 expected children and offer programs for infants and toddlers, children between the ages of three and five and an out of school program.

Morrison has reached out to the Child Care Resource and Referral centre and the Hamlets at Westsyde to let staff know of the new opportunity. If you know of any front line workers seeking childcare or you want to learn more about Bumble and Bean, check out their Facebook page.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Jenna Wheeler or call (250) 819-6089 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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