The SIGN Early Learning Centre held its Grand Opening on August 21, 2013. The Early Learning Centre is licensed for 45 children — 30 preschool and 15 toddler spaces. Andrew Sedley, Executive Director of SIGN explained the process of SIGN acquiring the spaces. “As we see Yorkton’s population growing with new families coming to the city, we noticed a need in the community for licensed childcare spaces. A needs assessment was conducted in June of 2012 and a proposal was developed and sent to the Ministry of Education Early Years Branch. At the time of the needs assessment, there were over 200 children on waiting lists to access licensed child care”.
SIGN was notified in October of 2012 that they were granted the child care spaces. Sedley reports that there was a committee struck made up of committed individuals in the community to look at renovations to the SIGN building on North Street, to develop a Centre philosophy and to be innovative in the structure to provide many learning opportunities for the children through play and experience. “We were very fortunate to have a committed group of community champions with experience in the development and operation of child care centres. Tom Seeley, Lois Okrainec, Donna Coleman Trombley, Candace Zastrizny and Oralyn Biggs assisted in developing a vision and philosophy of what we believe will provide a quality learning experience for our children”.
The philosophy of the SIGN Early Learning Centre is to promote and encourage acceptance and participation where difference is valued, where the rights of all children are respected, and children benefit from opportunities for healthy development and learning. The program is structured to encourage and promote the development of the individual child, particularly in the areas of physical, emotional, cognitive, language and social skills. While focusing on early childhood development, the centre strives to promote good old fashion fun, where children learn through getting messy, using their imagination, outdoor fun and realizing the value of play.
The Nursery School area of the SIGN on North Building was renovated in January 2013. Once renovations were complete the doors officially opened on May 28, 2013. Rebecca Wallis, Director of the SIGN Early Learning Centre states that “the first five years of life are a period of incredible growth in all areas of a child’s development. The child’s brain is constantly developing and making neural connections based on their experiences. The development and learning that takes place in these formative years, sets up the pathways that remain through to old age. With that, Early Childhood Education plays a crucial role in building the foundation for a child`s development and providing the grassroots for a healthy and happy life”.
SIGN is a family and community service agency, which develops and delivers services to enhance the quality of life for individuals and groups in the Yorkton area. In the spirit of SIGN’s mission statement, CORE Real Estate and Svein Co. Developments have teamed together to develop a fundraising campaign for the Early Learning Centre. A playhouse valued at $6500 has been donated and will be raffled off to one lucky winner with all proceeds going to the Early Learning Centre. The draw date is October 1st. Marty Sveinbjornson, owner of Svein Co. Developments and Corey Werner, owner of CORE Real Estate were present for the Grand Opening. “We like to get involved with local organizations. What SIGN has to offer for the community is amazing and it provides great quality child care for children in Yorkton. It is sometimes difficult to find quality child care and having more spaces provides viable options for parents in Yorkton” says Werner.
Another financial contribution was provided by Barry and Joann Zapshalla at the Grand Opening for the development of an outdoor play area for the Centre. Barry Zapshalla presented a cheque for $5000.00. “With the growth of Yorkton and the surrounding area, the opening of the Sign Early Learning Centre is an exciting addition to our community. The planning Committee and staff have all worked hard to make this day possible and it gives Joann and I great pleasure to contribute to the funding of the outdoor play area. Young people are our future and helping to provide equipment and facilities is vital. We are happy to be a part of this”.
“We are so fortunate to have so many champions in our community that are committed to Early Learning. Without the individuals that were involved in the planning and development of the centre and contributions from the community, we would not be where we are today, providing an innovative environment for children to grow and learn” states Sedley.
The SIGN Early Learning Centre provides full time childcare during the week from 7:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m., programming focused on early childhood development, an anti-bias curriculum promoting acceptance and individuality, services and accommodations for children with diverse needs and a healthy and wholesome nutrition program. For more information on the Centre or to purchase playhouse raffle tickets, please contact Rebecca Wallis at 306-782-8808.