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David and Ruth Asper Early Learning Centre

The general contractor for the renovation to the David and Ruth Asper Early Learning Centre was Westland Construction. Amalgamated Drywall did the drywall.

Gayle Waxman, Executive Director of the Rady JCC


September 21, 2018

It is the second anniversary since the successful David and Ruth Asper Early Learning Centre opened. 

Gayle Waxman, Executive Director of the Rady JCC says "We are extremely pleased with what we have achieved at the David and Ruth Asper Early Learning Centre.  David and Ruth, along with our other donors have given the families in our community a special gift.  It has been a pleasure to work with the families and the staff have been terrific.   Our goal was to engage families and assist them by providing high quality child care that reflected Jewish values.   It has been very rewarding to see how quickly we were able to achieve this."


Westland Construction was the general contractor for the David and Ruth Asper Early Learning Centre project and the architect for this great space was Calee Gushuliak from Architecture 49, and Grant Van Iderstine was also involved in a supervisory role. Waxman says that the architects " understood our needs and the design has worked extremely well.   We are especially happy with the amount of light in the rooms, the layout and the wonderful outdoor play area."    (The architects at A-49 had also designed the Kaufman Child Care Centre)


When asked about the size of  the wait list for getting into the Kaufman Child Care Centre   or the David and Ruth Asper Early learning centre, Waxman responded "The wait list remains high at approximately 800 children for both sites.   However it is important to note that the vast majority of the children are infants – children under 2 years old.   Consistent with the trends across the city, the greatest need is for infant spaces.   The demand for spaces for toddlers and preschoolers is much less.   There may be a misconception that among some that their toddler or preschooler may never get a space.  With the addition of the 48 preschool spaces at new centre we have been able to reduce the wait time for toddlers and preschools tremendously.  Families with children in this age group should be optimistic that with a little patience there is a good likelihood their child will be offered a space.  Not every family that is offered a space on our wait list will accept a space and everyone should keep this in mind.  Of course we adjust our assessment of the need accordingly."


When  asked if the Rady JCC is planning  on expanding daycare and the Board’s commitment to this issue, Waxman sated "The Board made a commitment through our Jewish Life and Community Strategy to open 125 spaces within 5 years.  With the David and Ruth Asper Early Learning Centre, the Rady JCC opened 48 spaces.   We estimate that is still a need for approximately 75-100 more spaces, with infants’ spaces being the highest priority."


Waxman added that "The Rady JCC Board is committed to expanding child care, provided it meets  community needs and is operationally feasible.  Based on our previous experiences we know it takes a lot of work and strong community support to do so.  We are grateful to Nora and the late Dave Kaufman and David and Ruth Asper for the leadership they have provided. The Jewish Federation of Winnipeg has also believed in our efforts to meet families’ needs for child care – which we appreciate."


Waxman also clarified that  "The first step in expansion [of daycare] is to receive the approval of the provincial government to develop the spaces.  As part of that process the government reviews the plan, including financing of the project and fundraising.  The government then licenses the spaces once the centre is complete and it is deemed to meet all the licensing requirements." 


Waxman also stressed that "Child care plays a unique role in connecting families with very young children to our community."  She added, " I am not sure if people are aware that the Rady JCC’s child care programs at the Kaufman Child Care Centre and the David and Ruth Asper Early Learning Centre were selected by our national association the JCCA to be one of a handful of pilot sites in North America to develop innovative approaches to foster early learning.  We along with the JCC in Vancouver are playing a leading role in developing innovative ways to support young children to learn using a play-based approach.  Moreover, we are doing so in a way that integrates Jewish values and Jewish experiences.   The approach is based on the Reggio method and starts with the assumption that children are competent learners.  The role of the early childhood educator is to foster the child’s natural ability to learn and build on that.   As a result, we see toddlers developing literacy skills, preschoolers engaged in science and all children finding ways to understand their world, through art, science and more.  We are very fortunate to have this opportunity in Winnipeg and fortunate to have the wonderful staff in both our centres that bring their experience, creativity and commitment to the children every day. "


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Rhonda Spivak, Editor

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.