The YMCA of Greater Vancouver will soon be taking over operation of a popular daycare in Squamish, Platypus Playcentre.
The centre offers full-time childcare for children ages 12 months to five years.
The current non-profit society will be dissolved as of April 30, according to Kim Adamson, general manager of YMCA Child Care.
The YMCA, a charitable organization, currently operates more than 60 childcare centres around the Lower Mainland and on the Sunshine Coast, but this will be the first in the Sea to Sky Corridor.
Platypus board members approached the YMCA to take over the centre, Adamson said.
“Child care is complex so when we were approached by the Platypus Childcare Society we met with them and had an opportunity to discuss the viability of it – would it be a good fit for us.”
The play-based learning focus of Platypus fit with the educational values of the YMCA, she said.
The YMCA brings a strong infrastructure to the business, which will mean the staff at the centre can focus more on the children and less on administration, according to Adamson.
“We can provide a human resources department, a financial management department, our admin team; we provide professional development opportunities for the staff. We can provide all of that infrastructure.”
Parents won’t see much of a change, she asserted.
The current waitlist will be honoured and fees won’t change.
Representatives from the YMCA will be meeting with the current administration to get a handle on everything that happens at the centre, Adamson said.
Each family at the centre will soon receive a registration package to the YMCA for their child.
“We are going to do everything to honour and respect the program that Platypus already has in place and we aren’t going to be in any hurry to make any changes,” Adamson said, adding gradually the YMCA Playing to Learn curriculum will be instituted, but it aligns closely with the program already in place.
As most parents of young children in Squamish know well, finding childcare for children between the ages of 12 months to three years old is in “a state of crisis,” according to Lisa McIntosh, child care resource and referral consultant with Sea to Sky Community Services.
“Families are choosing informal care because of lack of availability,” McIntosh told The Chief.
Adamson said her organization would be pleased to form partnerships with other local groups to bring more YMCA facilities to Squamish and the Sea to Sky Corridor.
Platypus opened in 2008 and became a non-profit society in December of 2013.
The Chief requested an interview with someone from the Platypus board, but instead were sent a board-approved statement via email.
“Platypus is excited to have the YMCA taking over operations of the centre. They bring a sustainability for our large daycare, as well as expertise and support that are unparalleled,” read the release.
“They add value to all the communities they join and we are very pleased to partner with them.”