By Andrea Arnold

McBride’s childcare provider, Little Munchkins is on the hunt for a new location.

They have experienced more growth than founder Tabatha Reis could have predicted since they opened their doors about two years ago.

“We are operating close to the current 38 child capacity,” she said. “In order to continue this growth and accommodate more children, we need to find more space.”

They have been offering three programs throughout this school year and are making plans to expand.

Looking ahead, Reis and her team have four programs planned to help fill the need for childcare during the summer months. Within the four groups, they can care for a maximum of 50 children, providing they are able to find and afford more space. 

The group care program covers the three to five year-olds, and the after school program hosts children from five-twelve. Following the closure of the preschool run by Robson Valley Community Services in 2023, Little Munchkins added another group of three – five year olds, focusing on preschool skills. 

Now, with a lot of planning that has included hiring more staff and finding a new location, they have plans to include an infant group that will take care of children aged nine months to three years old.

“The need is there,” said Reis. “We are doing our best to fill it.”

The current location in a room at the McBride Elementary School, limits the services they can provide. In a perfect world, Reis would like to operate Little Munchkins out of their own facility, complete with a secure and safe outdoor play area. Although they have not had any success so far as they look to purchase or build their own facility, they continue to apply for grants. Their status as a newer non-profit organization has been one of the roadblocks they have faced during their quest for funding, but one only time can remedy, and a requirement that they own land before building is an additional financial challenge.

In the meantime, they are relying on existing structures and rental agreements. Due to growth and the need for more available space, they are in a position where their available budget will not cover upcoming operational costs. Licensing requires a minimum of 3.72 square metres per child. That amount of space is hard to find within the community. 

Reis has a tentative plan that will keep the programs running until September. Following that, she is unsure as to how programming in the fall will look in regards to location.