Child care centres are places for community connection and support

›› Chantille Viaud

When I was growing up, I didn’t understand why my mom spent so much of her energy on the child care centre she was trying to build. I remember stressed whispers between her and my dad late at night, going over financials and floor plans. She was fighting for the first licensed group child care centre in my small town, because she knew families were struggling without one.

Although the importance of child care was imprinted on me, it wasn’t until I had my own child that I really understood its significance. When I became a single parent of a 2-year-old, it became a critical piece to my survival. The early childhood educators weren’t just looking after my child, they were supporting me. If I hadn’t had quality child care, or the subsidy that went with it, I would not have been able to afford to stay in the same community where my family was, or work at a full-time job. My child care centre was my community hub, it was where I met other families, received advice and guidance, and where I felt most connected.

I am so proud to now work at the only centre in Victoria, right here in Fernwood that is able to offer quality child care for $10 dollars a day. It has been life ­changing for families, and transformational for our community. Child care centres are more than just places that look after kids. They are places that support our whole ­community.

My mom continues to be an advocate for child care, and now teaches new early child care educators. I now understand why she fought so hard for so long, and I will honour her by doing the same and making sure that families in Fernwood have the same kind of support and ­community that I had when I needed it most.