It is no longer just toddlers who are helped by the Lakeview Children's Centre in western Manitoba.
Teens, parents and other day-care centres are also benefitting from the programs of the 12-year-old centre in Langruth, Man.
Centre co-ordinator Jane Wilson said it is trying out new child-care programs in six other farming communities in which it is active. Besides handling up to 100 children and 19 full and part-time staff, the centre has some special projects.
In McCreary, with the assistance of a local RCMP officer, a committee is planning a youth program to work with that community's 60 children aged 10-16. In McGregor and Amaranth, groups of mothers get together weekly for support and discussion of parental issues.
The Langruth centre has set up a resource area offering playpens, books, games and eight theme boxes to lend for free to parents and other nursery schools.
The centre is setting up its own website with grant money. The province recently named Lakeview a centre of excellence for child care.
Wilson said the child-care centres are also getting ready for another seeding season by planning to be open for extended hours, as late as 10 p.m.
"It's a given in our program when things start to farm up."
Wilson said she does not know why Lakeview succeeds and other rural day cares don't, but she has decided to document the centre's history &emdash; "mistakes and good things" &emdash; so other communities can learn how to do it.
She also credits her board of directors for its hard work, ideas and dedication. The board covers all the communities served and includes two or three people from each town.
"It's a good model for rural areas. Everyone has representation but no one gets burned out."
- reprinted from the Western Producer