Kim Hiebert, Tatjana Kreker and director Lenora Fassett are just a few of the dedicated staff at Winkler Day Care Centre. (LAUREN MACGILL, Winkler Times)
Winkler Day Care Centre will be receiving a P.W. Enns Business Award on April 19. The organization was named Not-for-profit of the Year.
“It was definitely a surprise,” Winkler Day Care Centre director Lenora Fassett said. “It’s a really big honour, which kind of says the community appreciates what we’re doing and validates it. That’s a great feeling, to know that the community is behind us and values what we do.”
The day care employs 14 regular staff members and a few substitutes. The day care is licensed to look after 53 children, including 12 infants and 41 pre-school kids. They also care for children on a part-time basis, which brings the total to about 80 children that are looked after at varying times.
Winkler Day Care Centre incorporated in 1975, and has been looking after children in the community since.
Fassett has been director of the day care centre for three years, but has been in childcare for 25 years. “I’ve always loved working with children,” she said. “They’re fascinating. We get the best of both worlds, we get to play and we get to watch children grow and learn.”
“It’s amazing how much they learn in those first five years,” she added. “It’s pretty awesome that we get to be a part of that.”
When Fassett first came to work at the day care, the centre could only take four infants. They also used to look after school-aged children, but the demand for preschoolers was higher.
“The city certainly needs a school-aged program at this point,” Fassett said.
Fassett said she feels like the day care is doing a good job when parents keep coming back and signing their children up. Fassett also said employees have helped make the centre a not-for-profit that people can depend on. “We have long-standing staff,” she said. “Part of the success we’ve seen is that we don’t have a very big turnover in staff.”
“We don’t have a big turnover in children either,” she added. “Lots of times we have children right from the time they’re infants up until they leave when they go into grade one.”
Fassett said the day care’s goal is to work with families and provide quality care. “So that they can go to work knowing their children are safe and being looked after,” she said. “When you reflect on it it’s a pretty awesome feeling to know that parents are trusting us with their children. That’s the most precious gift.”
As a not-for-profit, Fassett said the day care is always looking for funds for projects and supplies. Right now, they are working on getting new windows for the building, and recently put in new carpeting.
“It’s always a challenge to pay staff for the quality work they do,” Fassett said. “We are government funded, we do get an operating grant to work on, but a lot of that goes toward wages so there’s not a lot left over for extras in the program.”
“When your furnace breaks down, like it did a few years ago, you’re always scrambling to replace that,” she added. “And we have a lot of children going through here so you’re always maintaining the equipment. Safety is very important. When you’ve got up to 53 children using it in a day, it stands to reason that it only lasts so long.”
Winning a P.W. Enns Award means the day care will continue to provide the same level of service going forward, Fassett said. “We’ll hopefully be around for a long time to help support the families and children with whatever they need,” she said. “We’ll continue doing what we’re doing and continue educating ourselves. It’s important for all of us to do professional development and keep ourselves current.”
For Fassett, the awards are a good way to showcase businesses and organizations in the city. “A lot of the time I don’t think people realize what businesses and non-profit organizations are in the community,” Fassett said. “It highlights what each organization does and what they have to offer the community. I think that’s an important part of getting to know your community, especially for people who are moving in.”
“We have a lot of people from different places, so it’s nice for them to hear about the different places so they are aware what’s available in the community,” she added. “Many people come in and don’t know what services are available so it highlights services in the community and I think that’s very important.”
Fassett said she is grateful to the community for supporting them, and for all previous and current staff members who helped make the day care centre what it is today.
“I have an amazing staff who are very caring and loving,” she said. “A big thank you to the staff and the families, who share this award with us. It’s a piece of everybody who contributes to the day care.”