Seabird Island is clearing the way for a new Centre of Excellence. The centre will provide a variety of services for Seabird’s youngest residents under one roof.
Seabird Island offers a number of early childhood services. There’s an Aboriginal Infant Development program, for newborns up until about age 3. There’s supported childcare for children primarily aged 3-6. There’s a Speech and language program for young Aboriginal children. There’s Headstart, a drop-in program for children aged 0-6.
Right now all these programs are spread across four different buildings. Kids can start their morning in daycare, then have to put on their coats and boots again to go to preschool, then again get dressed for outside weather when they return to daycare for the rest of the afternoon. And parents can be found taking their children to appointments at a number of different locations.
Carolyne Neufeld is the health director at Seabird Island. She explains that the Centre of Excellence will provide ease of access for parents and a seamless transition for kids going from, say, daycare to preschool. With the new centre, those same kids can simply walk down the hall.
“The flow will be so much better,” Neufeld reports.
Chief Clem Seymour says the plans for this project have been discussed for maybe four or five years.
“It was always a dream of some people to make it happen,” says Seymour. “We want it all centralized.”
The site for the expanded facility is the old day school, next door to the current daycare. Seymour says he certainly won’t miss the old school, which he attended from grades 1 through 4 before moving to Silver Creek.
“It was different. It was kind of a culture shock,” he recalls.
He hasn’t heard reaction from residents about the building coming down. He says maybe for some the place was scarring, maybe for others it wasn’t. But, he says, “We always remember where we come from so we know where to go.”
Demolition is set to begin Feb. 28. The project is expected to take about a year before a grand opening some time in early 2016.