History of Oliver Day Care Society 1975-1996
In 1975, a group of people concerned about the lack of quality day care in City of Edmonton for single parent and low income families formed the Oliver Day Care Society. They wanted to create a center that would meet the social, emotional, physical and cognitive needs of children ages 2 to 6 years. To create such a centre and program, it was decided that only trained childhood teachers would be hired. There would be a cook to prepare hot lunches and snacks. The centre would be managed by a Board of Directors that would include parents and concerned members of the community and the Oliver Day Care Society would be nonprofit to ensure that all funds received by the society would be used to improve the quality of the children’s programs.
The Oliver Day Care Centre opened in the early spring of 1975 with a licensed capacity of 30 children, a staff of 6 teachers, director, cook, part-time housekeeper and part-time janitor.
In 1980, the Board of Directors, supported by the City of Edmonton, felt the need for a larger and more suitable location (e.g. above ground). A larger space would allow the Society to accept more children, resulting in more efficient management and some cost saving benefits. Empty school space in those schools with declining enrollment seemed the most logical place to consider for relocation. Unfortunately, there was no such space in the immediate Oliver area. After a few false starts we were finally able to secure a wing of St. Vincent School in Glenora. The City provided some funding for the necessary renovations, but not enough to cover the total costs so the Board of Directors did some creative financing and approached then Minister of Education, Dave King. The School Boards have available to them, for upgrading of facilities, a fund called the Building Quality Restoration Plan. The Minister agreed to lend our non-profit society $40 000.00 from this fund as a test case.
As it eventually turned out, our project was so successful and the Minister was so impressed, the fund became available to other non-profit organizations wishing to utilize empty school space. A further grant was received from the Clifford E. Lee Society for the purchase of new equipment.
On the last weekend of January 1981, the Board and friends of the Society volunteered their backs to move and set up the new Centre. The Oliver Day Care Centre at its new location in St. Vincent School, 10530 138th Street. It was open for operation on the Monday – no mean feat!
In the spring of 1984 the Oliver Day Care’s Board of Directors decided to expand its services to include care for school aged children ages 6 to 12 years, before school, after school, at lunch and during school holidays. The reasons for the expansion was two-fold. Firstly to fill the centre to its licensed capacity and secondly, to meet an expressed community need. The program for School Aged children commenced in September 1984 with an enrollment of 18 children operating out of one room with access to the School’s gym. There have been two expansions of the School Age Program since that time. In 1984 the program expanded to two rooms accommodating 40 children.
Oliver has had an Alberta Education Approved E.C.S. kindergarten program for 15 years. In Alberta, non-profit societies are able to provide kindergarten programs with financial support from Alberta Education, if they meet all the requisite regulations. Oliver was the first of Edmonton’s Municipally Approved Day Care Centres to operate an E.C.S. kindergarten.
The history of the Oliver Day Care Society to 1996 has been active and evolutionary, keeping pace with changing community needs. With the continued support and active participation of parents and staff, Oliver Day Care Centre will continue to grow, meeting the challenges to the provision of quality child care that lie ahead.