An expanded daycare on the Hay River Reserve was launched with a grand opening and ribbon-cutting ceremony on Aug. 29.

Work on the daycare expansion – officially called the K’atlodeeche First Nation (KFN) Early Learning and Childcare Centre – began in January.

A ribbon-cutting for the expanded daycare operated by K’atlodeeche First Nation (KFN) on the Hay River Reserve was held on Aug. 29. Doing the honours are Deh Cho MLA Michael Nadli, left, and Chief Roy Fabian. Paul Bickford/NNSL photo

The project marks the completion of the final vision for the daycare after almost 20 years.

“The expansion was to complete the building from the long-term plans,” said Elaine Rene Tambour in comments to The Hub. “The long-term plans at the very beginning was to do it in three stages as the need arose, and as we outgrew each stage we went on to the next. So this was the final stage.”

This included expanding the infant and toddler play area, because with the NWT going to Junior Kindergarten, the children at the daycare are a lot younger, said Rene Tambour. “And so we needed more space for the younger children.”

She noted the expansion increases infant spaces from five to nine.

“We had spaces for all other children, but we had a waiting list for infants because there was such a demand,” she said.

The daycare accepts infants from six weeks old to children aged 11.

It is currently licensed for five infants and 25 other children.

Rene Tambour said she expects those numbers will rise after a new licensing process is completed as a result of the expansion.

The supervisor noted the project also added a front entrance with a second ramp to the building.

Previously, the daycare was only accessible through a side door.

Rene Tambour said the expanded daycare will also be used for family events, such as support groups and parenting classes in the evening.

She is pleased with the expanded daycare.

“It’s my dream for the last 20 years,” she said, noting she started working on the design in 1999 and the daycare opened in 2000.

The original idea was to construct the main building, then add to the back and then expand on the front, which is what happened.

The final expansion cost about $500,000, with most funding coming from the federal government’s Aboriginal Skills and Employment Training Strategy, along with some support from Dehcho First Nations.

Denise Sabourin, a grandparent of several children at the daycare, is impressed with the expanded building.

“I think it’s going to be better,” she said. “It’s bigger and more spacious.”

KFN Chief Roy Fabian also welcomed the improved facility as he and Deh Cho MLA Michael Nadli performed a ribbon-cutting ceremony.

“For us today we’re going to dedicate another part of building to the future generations,” Fabian said. “That’s who we’re dedicating it to.”

Paul Bickford

Paul Bickford is the reporter for Hay River Hub.

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