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Brock Corydon School


Brock Corydon School is not the answer to the need for day care

by Rhonda J. Prepes, August 20, 2013

Some people in the community have suggested that Brock Corydon School may be the place to locate a new day care for the Jewish community, in light of the fact that the proposed Rady JCC -Herzlia Synagogue deal has collapsed.

Brock Corydon School had an enrolment of approximately 198 children from Nursery to grade 6 this past school year, while the capacity of the school is 302. Does this mean there is room for a Rady JCC daycare at  Brock Corydon? I think not.

One of the advantages of sending your child to Brock Corydon School in either the English or the Hebrew bilingual program is that class sizes are small and intimate. The student to teacher ratio is low. This is good especially if your child requires a little extra help from the teacher.

My daughter was in grade 6 last year and was in a class of 17 students with one very attentive teacher. I think she benefitted from a small class size and would not have done as well in a classroom of over 25 students, like you find at some schools. The school itself has a very "hamish" feel amongst all the students and the staff.

A reliable source has told the WJR that all classrooms at Brock Corydon school are used daily. There are 218 students registered for September 2013 (with the possibility of even more) and another classroom has been opened up to accommodate the extra students.

With the influx of Jewish immigrants from Russia, Israel, South Africa, and South America, I think it is fair to assume that enrollment will continue growing in the future.

I don’t see Brock Corydon School as an ideal location to house the 65 new daycare spots the government has granted the Rady JCC.

As a matter of fact, in order to increase the capacity in the Brock Corydon daycare, experts worked through an arduous process to be able to open up 8 more daycare spots at Brock Corydon to service the current families of Brock Corydon.

On July 9, 2013, Gayle Waxman Executive Director Rady JCC informed the WJR that “the Rady JCC notified Herzlia Synagogue today that Rady will not be pursuing the option of constructing a daycare at Herzlia.  After careful consideration, the Rady JCC came to the conclusion that the different requirements of the two organizations could not be reconciled.”

“Expanding child care remains a top priority for the Rady JCC.  We will continue our work to identify suitable space to expand daycare and meet the needs of the families in our community.  We have been in touch with the province and they remain committed to working with us to develop new spaces.” 

With Herzlia Adas Yeshurun no longer an option, I understand the need for the Rady JCC and the community to locate an alternate solution and to locate one quickly. I just don’t think Brock Corydon School is a viable option in light of everything noted above.

When asked to comment about a suggestion that the Rady JCC could have its daycare at Brock Corydon on August 7, 2013, Gayle Waxman, Executive Director of Rady JCC responded:
“The Rady JCC remains committed to expanding daycare based on Jewish values.  We are currently exploring a number of possibilities.  Once we have more information to report, I will let you know." 

WJR readers will remember reading a recent article (May 30, 2013) entitled "What is to be done with the White Building Behind Gray Academy-139 Tuxedo?

The older white building beside the Gray Academy was being used by the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority. After it was deemed structurally and environmentally unsafe, the current occupants left the building in June 2013 to be relocated to Broadway Ave.
The property itself is valuable and belongs to the Asper Community Campus. Community leaders have begun consultations about the future of the property, one possibility being a free-standing new daycare building. This would of course be highly advantageous to the Rady JCC as they would not have to negotiate with a second party, share space, or enter into a leasehold agreement and there would be no concerns about having to renovate an older building.

Bob Freedman Chief Executive Officer Jewish Federation of Winnipeg noted then that the site will need to be redeveloped in a way that "conforms to zoning and generates appropriate revenue for the community."

The proximity to the current Rady JCC daycare would also be highly advantageous as there is usually a continuation for children who attend daycare provided by the Rady JCC to the Gray Academy. Not to mention that the new building could be planned to house even more than 65 new daycare spots for future expansion.

The waiting list for the Rady JCC daycare is around 700 (although this actual number of peopel who need daycare may be less). There are 113 spaces in the daycare. The provincial government will not grant licenses for any more children at the current Rady JCC location in the Asper Community Campus.

At a Brock Corydon Parent Council meeting, City Councillor for River Heights John Orlikow announced that the River Heights Library next door to Brock Corydon School at 1520 Corydon Avenue will be available in the future. That could be another alternative location for the 65 new daycare spots?

Maybe there’s even room in the Shaarey Zedek Synagogue for a daycare? We sent an inquiry to the Shaarey Zedek to get their opinion on this matter. They have not responded yet.

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Publisher: Spivak's Jewish Review Ltd.

Opinions expressed in letters to the editor or articles by contributing writers are not necessarily endorsed by Winnipeg Jewish Review.