Nestled in a forest glade, the facility at 6831 Artaban Street (formerly Community Living Place) became home to Cranberry Child Development and Family Resource Centre in August 2015.
“We’ve been in this building for a year now,” says Laura Kew, director of child and family services. “We were in the Jean Pike Centre on Alberni Street, but we traded spaces with the adult services program to better meet everyone’s needs.”
Programs offered at the family-friendly centre, through Inclusion Powell River, include Infant Development, Supported Child Development, and Early Intervention. A physiotherapist, occupational therapist and FASD/CDBC key worker are also available onsite.
“Most people recognize Inclusion Powell River as adult services and don’t realize we also have children’s services,” says Laura. “We provide programs contracted by BC Ministry of Children and Family Development.”
Families can be referred to programs in a number of ways: by a family physician, public-health nurse or teacher; or families can self-refer.
“A physician or nurse might see a child and identify some concerns or development that is not quite on track,” explains Laura.
Referrals are also received through daycares and preschools. “Anyone can call if they have questions or concerns about their child’s development and want to talk about it,” says Laura. “It’s a way for them to learn about what their child’s needs are and how we can help.”
A new program available for parents of adolescents and teens is an education and support group called Parents Together. Developed by Boys and Girls Clubs of Canada, the program supports parents who are experiencing challenges in parenting this difficult age group.
“This is a great family-support program, but isn’t part of our funding,” says Laura. “We’ll need community support to keep it going.”
In addition to these programs, Cranberry Centre also houses the newly renamed Cranberry Preschool, featuring developmentally appropriate, child-centred activities and an engaging indoor and outdoor curriculum.
“We have a new preschool teacher,” says Laura. “Daniela D’Onofrio has wonderful ideas for getting kids out into nature.”
D’Onofrio takes over from Georgina Nesci, who recently retired after 28 years. Students will learn and play in an environment that nurtures and encourages unique learning through exploration and discovery.
Beginning in September, morning classes will be held for two age groups: 30 months to three years on Tuesday and Thursday and four-year-olds on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. The older group will focus on skill development, preparing for kindergarten and nature-based activities.
“We have the forest at our back door and a fenced play area that we use rain or shine,” says Laura.
Staff at Cranberry Centre considers the building a family hub and a place for people to come and receive information about child development.
“We have wonderful staff who are very knowledgeable in their fields,” says Laura. “This is a great place to come for expert help.”
“Our philosophy for all our programs is to offer family-centred service,” explains Laura. “It’s important that families choose programs they want and have input into services they receive.”