Election promise fulfilled: Vancouver's first flexible childcare opens

Fannie Smith is making use of Vancouver's first flexible childcare centre.

Less than one month after Mayor Robertson's re-election promise to provide 500 new daycare spaces, the city licenses the first flexible occasional care centre, providing for the part-time needs of up to 90 families at once according to a Buddings Flexible Childcare press release.

Fannie Smith has found an answer to a problem faced by hundreds of Vancouver families: what to do when her son's preschool hours don't cover the time she needs for her part-time job and other commitments. The need for more licensed childcare spaces in the city is so well-known that addressing it was part of Mayor Gregor Robertson's re-election platform, and in addition to more spaces, there is also an increasing demand for more flexible options, and varying schedules.

"I left my full-time job and inflexible schedule," Smith explains. "Now I spend three days a week in an office, do contract work from home and manage two other projects on a volunteer basis, all of which require uninterrupted work hours. We can't afford a full-time nanny, and since things are in constant movement, it doesn't make sense." 

So instead, she's signed up with Budding Children's Garden & Daycare. Newly licensed, Buddings brings the childcare industry into the information age, with a user-friendly website (http://buddings.ca) that makes registration and booking a familiar online procedure. The centre provides educational programming to suit any schedule, with up to 40 hours a month available per child, and space for up to 90 registered families at a time.

"More and more people are working from home," Smith says. "More and more woman are looking for opportunities to start their own business and spend more time with their children - to have it all. Buddings offers this new generation of parents a flexible, very accessible alternative to the long waitlists with daycares and the schedule requirements for full-time nannies."

Buddings is located at 950 West Broadway and provides an educational programme for 3 to 5 year olds.  Available on a monthly basis with no registration or booking fees, families can choose the number of hours, the frequency of visits, and how far in advance they book their time.  

"It's perfect," Smith says. "We don't have to commit months in advance and can log on from home, the office, or my handheld to see if space is available and make a reservation."

By Manda Aufochs Gillespie, The Green Mama, from a press release by Buddings Flexible Childcare. To learn more about greening your home, childcare, or office visit www.thegreenmama.com.

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