Thompson Rivers University

Early Childhood Education Centre opening worth the wait

October 11, 2022

Pictured L to R: TRU's Dr. Yasmin Dean and Gillian Balfour, ECE student Vanessa Datu, Elder Joanne Brown, Hon. Katrina Chen, former Executive Director (Cariboo Child Care Society) Marian Hardy and current Executive Director Susanne Butcher.

TRU’s highly anticipated Early Childhood Education Centre opened its doors Tues., Oct. 11, providing much-needed space for kids, students, educators and researchers.

The 2,000-square-metre facility brings together under one roof TRU’s Early Childhood Education program, researchers in early childhood education and the award-winning Cariboo Child Care Society, which serves the child-care needs of TRU students, faculty and staff, and off-campus families. The project was made possible with $1.48 million from the Province’s ChildCareBC New Spaces Fund.

Children’s play area at the new Cariboo Child Care Society

“The new Early Childhood Education Centre will be a place of growth and knowledge and be a welcoming space to all,” said Yasmin Dean, dean of the Faculty of Education and Social Work. “Having research, learning and childcare together will support valuable cross-functional learning, which ultimately benefits early childhood education, the community and the profession.”

Formerly a ginseng warehouse, the building is now a bright and inspiring place for children, students, researchers, faculty and staff, and a central location to foster the interconnectedness of early childhood education, research and daycare.

“It is exciting to see the unique Early Childhood Education Centre come to life as a strong continuing investment in our students and community,” said TRU President Brett Fairbairn. “It brings together a high-quality daycare centre with post-secondary students and researchers in a space where learning happens on multiple levels and ideas can be readily explored. This creates outstanding learning opportunities for everyone involved.”

Student lounge at the Early Childhood Education Centre

Located at 1274 McGill Rd., the new centre includes indoor and outdoor learning spaces. To better connect the building to the rest of campus, a new campus entrance was added on McGill Road with the extension of TRU Way.

The grand opening event included the Hon. Katrina Chen, Minister of State for Child Care, celebrating alongside TRU faculty and staff, and community members. The centre represents three of TRU’s institutional mission core themes: student success, research and intercultural understanding.

“This Early Childhood Education Centre is great news for Kamloops families, TRU staff and students who will benefit from 37 new convenient on-campus child care spaces for their children while they study or work. Importantly, this new facility will train future early childhood educators to this in-demand and vital profession,” said Chen. “Through our ChildCareBC commitments we have funded nearly 1,000 new licensed child care spaces and 240 $10-a-day spaces in Kamloops and the surrounding area as we build child care as a core service that families can count on.”

The total cost for completion of the ECE was $7.2 million, with funding provided from the province and TRU. Teck has also provided funding for antimicrobial copper high-touch surfaces and an amazing outdoor playground.

Related Posts