By Nick Fonda
The original plans for the enlargement of Pop-Soleil, the Centre de la Petite Enfance (CPE) which serves the Richmond area, would have left the adjoining playground intact. As it turned out, Pop-Soleil’s new wing is forcing the CPE to create a new playground.
Quebec is unique in North America in having CPEs. Structured as non-profit organizations operated by a board of governors, they are subsidized by the Ministry of the Family and provide day care at a cost of $8.85 per day. They follow governmental guidelines and are subject to regular inspections.
Pop-Soleil opened in 1980 when families in the community, with the support of the CLSC, collaborated to create a day care for children aged 18 months to five years. Originally housed in a century old house across the street from the Couvent St-Patrice, Pop-Soleil moved in 2004 into a new, purpose-built home across the street from Richmond Regional High School, and in doing so increased its clientele from 40 children to 60. By this time, the day care was accepting infants as well as toddlers. The most recent addition allows the CPE to accommodate a total of 99 children.
“We were thinking of expanding by extending the building at the back,” says Lorraine Watson, Pop-Soleil’s general director. “However, because we’re on a hillside, the architect’s advice was to extend the building laterally. The new wing, which we opened a month ago, sits on what used to be our playground. As a result of that change, we purchased a large, irregular lot behind our building and most of it will become a new play area.”
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