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Daycare settling into new school space

They're in, and pretty delighted with their new surroundings. The Humboldt Co-operative Daycare (HCD) is now located in St. Augustine School and it seems everyone involved couldn't be happier with the situation.
Children in the age 5 room at the Humboldt Co-operative Daycare colour some nature-based pictures while in their new room at St. Augustine School. The room is designed according to the new nature-based theme in childcare in Saskatchewan.

They're in, and pretty delighted with their new surroundings.
The Humboldt Co-operative Daycare (HCD) is now located in St. Augustine School and it seems everyone involved couldn't be happier with the situation.
"It's good," grinned Carol McLaren, principal of St. Augustine School, as she led the Journal from the school portion of the building into the new daycare space, adding that many in the school - staff and students - enjoy seeing the faces of the younger children in the daycare throughout their school day.
The daycare is equally as exuberant in their praise of their new situation.
"It's unbelievable," said Loriann Bodnard, who manages the HCD. "It's exceeded my expectations... Through this whole experience, Carol (McLaren) and the staff have been incredibly welcoming, and just thoughtful and helpful," she said. "We're really happy being in the school and are looking forward to building a positive relationship with the (staff), children and families."

The HCD moved into their newly renovated space at St. Augustine School in mid-September after calling the Humboldt Curling Rink their temporary home over the summer.
The day care was previously located in a large, split level house on Ogilvie Ave. They were forced to find a new location after the city sold the leased land on which the daycare sat last year.
The decision to locate the daycare at St. Augustine School, which was deemed to have the necessary space, was made last spring. Over the summer, a four-classroom area on the northwest side of the school was renovated to suit the daycare's needs as a provincially licenced daycare.
Bathrooms were added to each of the four classrooms, as were sinks. All were made to accommodate children, with lower sinks and smaller toilets.
A kitchen was also renovated elsewhere in the school for the daycare's use.
Their four main rooms, Bodnard noted, makes it easier for them to make everything more age-appropriate for the children in each space. This was more difficult to do in their old building, Bodnard said, where they weren't able to split the children up into smaller age groups, due to the space.
The HCD also took the opportunity to decorate in a new style being supported by their provincial ministry which stresses natural materials and bringing the outside into each room, in order to create a more natural, home-like environment.
So out went the bright coloured plastic bins for toys and in came woven baskets, decorations made of natural materials, and calming, natural paint tones on the walls.
"We've had lots of comments from parents and staff that it's more calming," said Bodnard.
Because of the new space and the new decorating, Bodnard said many of the children are eager to spend time in their facility.
"Lots of parents comment that their child can't wait to come to daycare," she smiled. "The kids are loving it. They're are very excited. And we actually see a difference in them in the new environment."
It's working well for both parties, having the daycare located in the school, McLaren and Bodnard indicated.
"The students love watching the kids out their windows, when they're playing," said McLaren.
"And our children love being 'in school'," Bodnard added.
Their location in a school is helping the daycare achieve one of their main goals - recognition that the HCP is not only a place where children are cared for, but where education and social skills are taught by early childhood educators.
"We've always tried to portray ourselves as an early (childhood) education facility," said Bodnard. "This placement helps people recognize that."
Though their old space was a good one, moving, Bodnard feels, "was a very positive move," and one that allowed the daycare an opportunity to make changes they had always wanted to make, but which were not financially feasible in their old building.
Ties between the school and daycare are already forming.
"I really enjoy going down (to visit the daycare) and building relationships here," McLaren stated.
And she won't be the only one from the school going into the daycare on a regular basis.
The older students have been so eager to interact with the young daycare attendees that the two entities are planning to set up a program so their Grade 8 students can come into the daycare to visit and help out on a regular basis.
The HCD is also in the process of setting up a before and after school program at St. Augustine School.
"We are definitely committed to opening a program," Bodnard noted. Now that the daycare is starting to run very smoothly, they can focus their attention on it, she added.
A committee for the before and after school program has already been formed and there is an extensive list of families interested in the program.