Starting in ­September 2014, Fernwood NRG will be providing an Out of School Care ­program for children from George Jay at the Fernwood Community Centre

›› Shonna Bell

Fernwood Neighbourhood Out of School CareFernwood NRG currently serves ­families with ­children from birth to five years old and we are happy to be able to support families ­further by offering programs for school-aged ­children. The Fernwood Neighbourhood Out of School Care ­program will align with our developed child care ­philosophies which are: Nurture, Respect, and Grow.

We believe that the hours after school are a sensitive time for children and a time which is often undervalued. Children have had a long day and need to feel supported. We also understand that parents have had a long day and they need to pick up children who are nurtured.

We believe that children benefit from time spent outdoors and will try to ­provide opportunities for this each day. We also believe that children need the time and space for imaginative free play, for art, and for physical sports activities. We believe giving children a choice of activities will help them to feel satisfied with what they are doing. We also believe that taking part in community projects, such as our ­Community Orchard, Fernwood Pole Painting Project, and others will give children a sense of agency.

Most importantly, we will provide a space that is safe and inclusive. We will adhere to the safety and policy standards set by the Vancouver Island Health Authority. Our programs have always demonstrated a ­commitment to inclusion. Children and families with diverse backgrounds and needs have always been welcome. Children requiring extra support participate fully in the daycare program, and have their needs met within the regular group activities and routines through accommodations, ­modifications, and extra support where necessary.

The daily programs will be run by Carina Foran, who moved to Victoria from Montreal just this year. For those parents and children needing support with the new French immersion program, you are in luck. Carina founded a registered non-profit dedicated to youth empowerment in Montreal called Rock Camp for Girls and has also been in three all-girl cover bands.

The program will be directed by myself, Shonna Bell. I’ve been the Family ­Programs Coordinator at Fernwood NRG for 4 years. I have experience in Out of School Care programs specific to George Jay. The ­families in this community are as ­important to me as my own family.

We believe that this program will create an important link between families with school-aged children and the community those children will continue to grow up in—a community they can make their own.

Email for more information.