When searching for a shining example of a relationship leading to things greater than the sum of its parts, you can turn your attention to the bond between TRU and on-site daycare, Cariboo Child Care Society (CCCS).
For 45 years the two have worked closely and along the way, have shared resources, collaborated and invested in each other. Their bond was recognized this month by the BC government with the child care centre being awarded a 2018 Child Care Award of Excellence. The centre was one of four recipients of the award and from a pool of nearly 70 nominations.
“We’ve maintained a strong relationship to remain on campus and to be a part of campus life,” said executive director Marian Hardy. “Our children also enjoy being on campus, and that’s important. The vision for TRU is to go forward with a wonderful new campus, and we’re going to still be part of it.”
CCCS board member and psychology faculty member Jacqueline Kampman accepted the award on behalf of the centre during an awards celebration on Sept. 25 in Richmond, which featured two provincial portfolio ministers in attendance—BC Minister of Children and Family Development Katrine Conroy and Minister of State for Child Care Katrina Chen.
Being on campus means CCCS is conveniently-located for university students doing research projects involving children and those training to work with children. Students in the Early Childhood Education program have probably benefited the most, whether it’s visits to the centre, having children visit their classrooms, doing practicums at the centre and having the centre’s staff give guest lectures or be a resource for questions, suggestions, advice, recommendations and referrals. Students in the Bachelor of Education have also benefited, as have those in nursing, psychology and physical education.
ECE Coordinator Laura Doan said it’s a tremendous asset having the centre on campus and it’s a friendship that’s leaned on, but not taken for granted.
“Our students get to work alongside experienced child-care educators who want to share what is meaningful about their work with children and families, as well as their knowledge of how to be successful as an educator,” said Doan. “The enthusiasm, dedication, and commitment to building relationships with our students is a huge part of the students’ success.”
Said minister Conroy, “The Cariboo Child Care Society is receiving this award in part because of its innovative partnership with Thompson Rivers University. This partnership allows students who are studying to become early childhood educators, gain real-life, hands-on experience with kids, while learning from experienced child-care providers.”
CCCS is a not for profit and provides childcare for TRU students first, followed by TRU faculty and staff and then the community. The centre has nearly 75 children made up of infants, toddlers and those aged three to five.
Staff is fully licensed and children receive home-cooked lunches each day. They spend the majority of their day outside, where they can play, get fresh air and be messy. To help encourage physical play, staff have built climbing structures, and have given kids access to parallel bars, a climbing wall and a zip line.