Childcare report released
As part of its strategic priority of creating an outstanding learning and work environment, the University of Manitoba is committed to better understanding the issues related to childcare and how it affects the student experience.
“Stable childcare is important for student success and optimizes child development. Without accessible, affordable childcare, students with young children run the risk of missing classes, which is an added stress,” says Susan Gottheil, Vice-Provost (Students). “We know that for some students, including Indigenous and graduate students, academic success is closely linked to family needs such as childcare.”
Through the Childcare Initiative, the University commissioned Betty Kelly & Associates, leading early learning and childcare consultants, to study the issue and provide recommendations on moving forward. They have produced a comprehensive and thorough report that builds on the latest academic knowledge, including that of U of M sociology professor and childcare expert Susan Prentice.
“The University of Manitoba is to be commended for considering and recognizing child care as an important and valuable service to the university community, realizing how it can enhance the academic successes of its students and the professional pursuits of its faculty and staff,” stated Kelly in the report.
Included in the report, Moving Child Care Forward at the University of Manitoba: Background, Analysis & Recommendations, are ten recommendations that the childcare consultative committee – made up of Susan Gottheil, Gregory Juliano, Associate Vice-President (Human Resources), Susan Prentice, and Brandy Usick, director of Student Advocacy and Accessibility – is currently reviewing. These will form the basis of a strategy to enhance affordable, accessible and high quality childcare for students, faculty and staff on the Bannatyne and Fort Garry campuses.
“One of the most pressing concerns is the less-than-ideal physical space in which the University’s PlayCare is operated,” says Juliano. “This is the primary childcare operation dedicated to our students and the PlayCare staff has done an excellent job providing childcare in this space. However, like so many other facilities across the province, it faces challenges. It has been identified as a high priority that these spaces be moved to an alternate location and to also possibly expand on spaces available to students.”
The committee is currently working with the Campus Planning Office and a number of other partners, including the provincial government and the provincial commission on early learning and childcare, to develop the university’s childcare plans.
The full report is available on the Childcare Initiative website. Visit the website to get the latest news and updates on the Childcare Initiative.