Telus Supports Natural Play for Childcare Centre

A major investment from the community will enhance the great outdoors for South Okanagan children at Okanagan College’s new child care centre.

The TELUS Thompson Okanagan Community Board has announced a donation of $20,000 to the Okanagan College Foundation’s Bright from the Start fundraising campaign. The gift will support an innovative outdoor learning environment at the centre on the Penticton campus.

The College’s project fulfilled two of the funding areas the Community Board strives to support – education and environment.

“TELUS has a longstanding history of supporting Okanagan College and the tremendous work they are doing throughout the community, whether it be through various campaigns, sponsorships or bursaries,” says Steve Jenkins, General Manager, Okanagan and Vice Chair, TELUS Thompson Okanagan Community Board.

“The TELUS Thompson Okanagan Community Board is proud to contribute $20,000 to this new facility knowing it will provide a foundation for future learners and will help foster a passion for the environment and nature for generations to come.”

Operated through a partnership between Okanagan College and the Penticton and District Community Resources Society (PDCRS), the new centre will provide 64 new child care spaces for infant and toddler care, ages 3-5 daycare, preschool, and after-school care for families in the South Okanagan, including College students and employees.

“TELUS has been a long-time champion of our students, programs and campuses,” says Okanagan College President Jim Hamilton. “We deeply appreciate the generous investment from their Community Board that will help provide a high-quality educational environment for our next generation of learners.”

The outdoor space is designed to follow current research on outdoor learning. Four unique play areas will provide children the opportunity to explore, play and learn through activities that help spark a sense of wonder about the natural environment.

“It’s important to provide as many opportunities for children to experience and connect with nature as possible,” explains Tanya Behardien, Executive Director of PDCRS. “In addition to the physical benefits, natural play is vital to early childhood development and encourages emotional and intellectual skills, including creativity and problem solving.”

The new child care centre opens September 2017 and the outdoor play environment will be developed later in the year in cooperation with students in the College’s trades program.

The Okanagan College Foundation is approaching individuals, organizations, and foundations, including College staff and alumni in the community to help reach the $700,000 fundraising goal.

To make a donation or learn more about the innovative project, visit okanagan.bc.ca/give.

About the Penticton Child Care Centre

The Penticton campus child care centre will provide 64 new child care spaces for infant and toddler care, ages 3-5 daycare, preschool, and after-school care. The facility will be the first Passive House certified child care centre in Canada, and is built to LEED Platinum standards with the goal of meeting net zero energy. The Centre features a unique extended hours operating model, ensuring that students and College employees in daytime and nighttime classes, as well as shift workers in the community, will have access to licensed child care.

As announced in fall of 2016, the Ministry of Children and Family Development has provided $500,000 through its Child Care Major Capital Funding program toward the $1.2-million building. Okanagan College and the Okanagan College Foundation will contribute the remainder of the project cost.

About TELUS Thompson Okanagan Community Board

The TELUS Thompson Okanagan Community Board is part of a national philanthropic program that includes 12 other TELUS community boards across Canada. The TELUS Community Boards are comprised of community leaders and TELUS team members who come together to make local funding decisions and seek out charitable partners – an intensely local approach to corporate philanthropy unique in Canada. Since their inception in 2005, the TELUS Community Boards have donated $64.6 million to local charities, supporting 5,959 community projects, with $1.79 million of that going to 229 projects in the Thompson Okanagan.