MHA praises Pump­kin House

The Labradorian - - Editorial - Perry Trimper, M.H.A. , Dis­trict of Lake Melville

Dear Ed­i­tor,

Oc­to­ber was Women’s His­tory Month in Canada. I wanted to use this oc­ca­sion to rec­og­nize the achieve­ments and con­tri­bu­tions of women and girls within the Dis­trict of Lake Melville and through­out our his­tory.

This year’s theme is ‘Make An im­pact’ in hon­our of the women and girls who’ve made a last­ing im­pres­sion as fore­run­ners in this field. Whether as a nurse at the Labrador Health Cen­tre or the CE of Labrador Gren­fell Health, a heavy equip­ment op­er­a­tor at Voisey’s Bay, serv­ing as the Grand Chief of the Innu Na­tion, or as site man­ager for Serco at 5 Wing Goose Bay, the women in our com­mu­nity have shaped our prov­ince.

Women are faced with enough chal­lenges in ex­celling in the work­force. That’s why I wanted to high­light an im­por­tant project un­der­way in Happy Val­ley-Goose Bay. Pump­kin House is mov­ing into a brand new fa­cil­ity with a ca­pac­ity of 92 spa­ces, con­sist­ing of 62 day­care spa­ces and 30 new af­ter­school spa­ces.

New­found­land and Labrador has the fourth high­est rate of child­care use in Canada. Ac­cess to a multi-pur­pose com­mu­nity fa­cil­ity and child­care cen­tre of this kind is es­sen­tial. Cur­rently, there are over 200 chil­dren on the wait list for child­care in our com­mu­nity. With this new build­ing, we hope to at­tract and re­tain skilled child­hood ed­u­ca­tors through the Early Child­hood Ed­u­ca­tion pro­gram of­fered by the Col­lege of the North At­lantic in Happy Val­leyGoose Bay.

Re­search has shown nu­mer­ous ben­e­fits of child­care. Chil­dren de­velop early lit­er­acy and math skills in pre-school pro­grams( ). Ac­cord­ing to No­bel Lau­re­ate James Heck­man, an econ­o­mist at the Univer­sity of Chicago, the so­cial­iza­tion skills learned in pre-school may be the most im­por­tant for the healthy de­vel­op­ment of chil­dren. These “soft” skills are some of the most use­ful life skills. “Soft” skills help kids dur­ing the tran­si­tion to kin­der­garten and years from now these same skills will help them find suc­cess in the job mar­ket.

The to­tal cost of the new build­ing con­struc­tion is $2.4 mil­lion. The Gov­ern­ment of New­found­land and Labrador is cur­rently pro­vid­ing 40 per cent of that cost at ap­prox­i­mately $900,000 through the Child Ca­pac­ity Ini­tia­tive. In ad­di­tion, the Early Child­hood De­vel­op­ment As­so­ci­a­tion has raised the re­main­ing 60 per cent of which $600,000 has come through 21 com­mu­nity part­ners to date.

This goes be­yond a good news story. It’s a project that will, in part, aid women in our re­gion in reach­ing their full po­ten­tial. I be­lieve this ini­tia­tive clearly demon­strates the com­mit­ment to im­prov­ing child care in the dis­trict of Lake Melville. It is the largest ini­tia­tive of its kind in the prov­ince at this time. As your MHA, I’m thrilled to see this ex­pan­sion and I look for­ward to see­ing Pump­kin House in its com­ple­tion in the sum­mer of 2019.

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