By ANYSSA BOHANAN
CENTRAL OREGON DAILY
A local church is doing its part to help close Bend’s childcare gap by providing space for early childhood education starting next month.
The Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Central Oregon has been looking to find a preschool to co-occupy part of its education space within the church.
After several months of interviewing over a dozen preschools, the church on Skyliners Road chose to partner with local childcare center ‘A Child’s Garden’.
“They provide a quality preschool program and have a huge waiting list, and that was attractive to us because we wanted to open our space to get kids in care quickly,” said Fellowship Administrator Leora Mauck.
The City of Bend estimates that there are thousands of children from newborns to the age of six…currently on childcare wait lists.
“We actually estimate there are 5,000 total childcare slots needed here in town,” said Bend Business Advocate Ben Hemson.
A Child’s Garden will operate in two classrooms within the church, serving nearly 20 children ages 1-3.
The full and half time programs will launch on March. 2nd.
There are still a few spots available as of today.
Hemson says, while it won’t solve Bend’s childcare problem overnight, the Unitarian Church’s actions are a step in the right direction to achieving the city’s goal of adding 560 childcare slots by June 2021.
“That comes up a lot, are five slots or 18 slots or 20 slots going to move the needle here? And I think the answer’s really yes,” he said. “This actually clears one waiting list for one childcare.”
For more information on how you can apply to get into A Child’s Garden classes at the Unitarian Church or its Bend location, visit achildsgardebend.com.