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New childcare centre opens in Lake Lenore

It started as a seemingly unattainable dream for one mom. Now it's a reality. The Lake Lenore Childcare Centre, located in the Lake Lenore School, held its grand opening on April 2, after opening for business on February 7.
Little Dawson Weber, held by MLA for Batoche Delbert Kirsch and flanked by Sandra Ecker (left) and Kim Moorman, cuts the ribbon to officially open the Lake Lenore Childcare Centre on April 2.

It started as a seemingly unattainable dream for one mom. Now it's a reality.
The Lake Lenore Childcare Centre, located in the Lake Lenore School, held its grand opening on April 2, after opening for business on February 7.
"It's a very exciting day," said Kim Moorman, president of the centre's board of directors, as little voices from the childcare centre echoed out into the hallway where the opening ceremonies were being held.
"When I started this whole project (of trying to open a childcare centre in Lake Lenore), I was pregnant with my second child... and we basically ran into a huge wall," she admitted.
There simply was not enough money available to go ahead with trying to open a centre at that time. So it was shelved for a while.
Then the Saskatchewan government, through their Ministry of Education, set aside more funding to help increase the number of childcare spaces in the province.
With the involvement of Horizon School Division, who agreed to provide space for the centre in Lake Lenore School, and after a lot of investment from the provincial and local levels, the Lake Lenore Childcare Centre was born.
In total, the Saskatchewan government invested $475,000 for renovations to the school to accommodate the centre, and over $69,000 to get the centre open. They are also providing a grant of $3,700 per month for operating costs.
Locally, businesses, organizations and individuals in Lake Lenore gave funds, supplies, signs and space to make sure the centre was able to open its doors.
What resulted is an area that is light, bright and from the faces of the children at the opening, very child-friendly.
Space was added on to a former classroom at the school in order to provide the room the centre needed. The space now includes a kitchen, washroom, laundry area, kiddie-sized tables and chairs, couches and chairs and a number of play areas in addition to a small cloakroom area for the children and an office for director Sandra Ecker.

The centre has room for 15 children, and has 14 between the ages of 18 months and five years registered for either full or part-time care right now.
"The number of kids varies every day, depending on whether there is Kindergarten (that day) or not," said Moorman.
"These 15 new spaces in Lake Lenore are an important part of the government's commitment to create more child care spaces for busy Saskatchewan families," said Delbert Kirsch, MLA for Batoche, who was on hand to help cut the ribbon to open the centre.
The government, he noted, is providing funding for spaces and for renovations, with additional funding for school-based childcare sites.
He acknowledged the work of the parent board and the partnership they have established with the Horizon School Division to open this centre.
"Your partnership is really going to prove positive for the children, parents, school and community," he said. "It's because of your vision and dedication we are celebrating here today."
There is no other childcare centre currently located in Lake Lenore, so this centre fills a definite need in the community.
Moorman was one parent who was constantly looking for child care before the centre opened.
"As a parent working outside of the home, we were always dealing with trying to find a consistent babysitter," she said. "This (centre) is consistent, it's always here, and it's regulated."
Putting the centre inside the school just made sense, noted principal Ralph Viczko. It's one of the biggest buildings in town and it's well utilized. By locating in the school, the children at the centre can also access the gym, the library and the playground as shared spaces.
It also made sense for families who already have school-aged children to make one stop in the morning to drop off their kids instead of two.
Lake Lenore is not the only town where a childcare centre is being rolled into the school.
"Our Ministry (of Education) is encouraging very much the utilization of school space for daycares, where it makes sense," said Crandall Hyrnkiw, a regional director with the Ministry.
He congratulated all those present for the work done on this centre.
"This childcare centre is second to none I've seen," he noted.
Jim Kolbeck of Horizon School Division asked the roughly 30 people at the opening to take a moment to visualize all the activity that will be going on when the centre is filled with 15 children.
"And realize this is happening right here in Lake Lenore, a small rural Saskatchewan school."
Mayor of Lake Lenore Scott Lessmeister gave Moorman credit for having the vision for this centre and for persevering until a centre was opened. He added that this is a lesson other members of the community can learn - if you want to see something done, you should step up and do it.
If the community, he said, is going to sit back and look to five people to make everything happen, "a lot of stuff is not going to get done," he said. "This is a great example of what can be done when someone steps up... takes charge and gets it done."
The childcare centre, he noted, will be a huge benefit to the community, especially when it comes to attracting new families.
The childcare centre is the seventh co-operative to open its doors in Lake Lenore, noted Beryl Bauer, who is on the board of the Lake Lenore Co-op Agro.
All the co-ops in town, he added, have earned the community the name "Co-opville."

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