Busy Bee the place to be!

Busy Bee Daycare staff and a few of the executive gathered for a photo last week. In the front row, left-right, are child educator J’Lyn Leganchuk, child educator Ziany Rahim, little girl Aurora Simard and board chair Jessica Simard. Middle row, left-right, are little boy Theo Turcotte, child educator Raivan Gagnon and board secretary-treasurer Crystal Tremblay. Back row, left-right, are board vice-chair Elise Turcotte holding boy Patrick Turcotte, and child educator Ashley Loiseau. Missing are board directors Charlene Born, Valerie Gauthier, Michelle Pitre and Sarah Simard.

Chris Clegg
South Peace News

It’s been 2 1/2 years in the making, but now that the end has arrived, Busy Bee Daycare executive and staff are excited to open their Falher facility.

“There really are no words to truly express the excitement the entire board and staff feel as opening day arrives,” says board chair Jessica Simard.

“We have been waiting for a very long time to see the manifestation of years of hard work and it is finally here!

“We couldn’t be any prouder of this accomplishment and are very excited to bring this amazing childcare space to our community. The children are going to absolutely love it,” she adds.

The seemingly endless fundraising and ensuring Busy Bee complies with all regulations must have seemed endless. All they are waiting for now is the licence to open after final inspections were completed last week.

Busy Bee opened Monday, July 26 at 7 a.m.

“We got our license Friday [July 23]!”

Busy Bee will employ four full-time staff, one part-time/casual staff and two summer students.

They are open Monday to Friday from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. but closed on stat holidays.

Busy Bee has space for about 20 children. Although registrations have not filled, Simard is not worried.

“We are not full yet as most families already had arrangements for summer childcare, but we have many families pre-registered for August/September and into the fall,” says Simard.

“We are accepting ages 12 months – 12 years so depending on the ages there is a wait list for certain rooms. Once we are open and running, we believe the remaining spaces will fill up quickly.”

Planning and opening Busy Bee has not been easy but the board would not be denied its dream.

“Our biggest hurdles were funding and finding a suitable location,” says Simard.

“We also had to get our policies and procedures manual and program plan written up. Once we secured the funding and the location [leasing the former Smoky River Express newspaper office] we moved quickly with renovations.”

But even that proved difficult.

“Having such a short timeline for renovations during a pandemic proved slightly challenging. We ran into many delays in shipping of the furniture, toys and equipment which set us back slightly from our original target date.”

The entire process began when the board’s proposal to create new child care spaces for the Alberta Children’s Services Child Care Capacity Building Expression of Interest [EOI] was accepted.

“The EOI focused on creating more child care spaces in the province,” says Simard.

“Having access to quality childcare is essential in getting families back to work after the pandemic and is part of the province’s economic recovery plan,” she adds.

“Our community found itself in a childcare desert [meaning there were no licensed childcare spaces] so the need was great in our community.”

One added bonus was the familiarity of the Busy Bee name.

“We wanted to keep the history of the community and keeping the Busy Bee Daycare name seemed like the perfect way to do that and stay true to our honey capital roots,” says Simard.

For more information, contact Busy Bee at [780] 837-2088 or email busybeedaycare21@gmail.com

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