(File photo)

Vancouver Island parents looking for quality childcare will soon have access to over 160 new childcare spaces in the Cowichan Valley School District.

According to the provincial government, nearly $3 million from the Childcare BC New Spaces Fund will be invested into the Cowichan area to create new childcare facilities, with three opening up by early 2020.

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The first three provincially funded childcare centres will open at Chemainus Elementary, Cowichan Valley Open Learning Co-operative school, and Khowhemun Elementary.

“By locating these new centres on school grounds, parents have access to multiple services in one convenient location, while future generations of learners can better prepare for the transition from daycare to school and thrive from an early age,” said Katrina Chen, Minister of State for Child Care in a statement.

The three new centres will offer a number of services for families, including providing snacks for children at no extra cost and additional free supports for young families.

The childcare spaces will also partner with Sun Drops Support Child Care Centre to help create personalized care plans for children with extra support needs.

Additionally, the upcoming centres will work with the Cowichan Intercultural Society to help provide families who are new to Canada with additional support, like language classes, job application guidance, and assistance with applying for government programs.

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“I am overjoyed that families and children in my community are getting additional support and care with this investment,” said Cowichan Valley MLA Sonia Furstenau in a statement.

These three childcare spaces are the first of 161 facilities that the province plans to create in the Cowichan Valley area over the next 10 years.

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