Dec. 20, 2017
College’s child care centre sets a first in sustainability
Penticton is now home to one of the most energy efficient daycares in the country.
The new Little Learners Academy, located on Okanagan College’s Penticton campus, is Canada’s first Passive House certified child care centre, earning the sought-after designation last month at the NetPositive Symposium hosted by Passive House Canada in Vancouver.
The project is being recognized locally with news that it has been named a Silver Finalist for the 2018 Tommie Awards in the category of Best Environmental Initiative in Construction (Residential or Commercial).
The project was announced by the B.C. Ministry of Children and Family Development at a groundbreaking event in November 2016. Less than a year later, the centre is operating in full swing, complete with 37 children using the facility.
News that the child care centre received official certification from the Passive House Institute (Passivhaus Institut) in Darmstadt, Germany is welcome for the College, which has built a strong reputation as a leader in sustainable construction.
“Sustainability is one of Okanagan College’s core values, and building the first Passive House child care centre in Canada is a milestone to celebrate,” says Jim Hamilton, President of Okanagan College. “We are pleased to be part of creating an innovative space for the next generation of learners and take pride in continuing to be a leader in green building practices.”
Passive House is a performance-based, voluntary, international construction standard for energy-efficient buildings that developed in Germany in the 1990s. It is widely recognized in Europe and the building standard is quickly gaining popularity in North America due to its long-term cost savings and reduced carbon emissions.
In real terms, the Passive House construction and design means the Little Learners Academy is predicted to use approximately 90 per cent less energy than a building of its size and scope conforming to standard building practices.
The project’s commitment to sustainable construction doesn’t stop at Passive House design.
Dec. 8, 2017
Credit Union invests in next generation
A local financial institution has stepped forward with an inspiring gift that will yield great returns for families in the South Okanagan.
The Summerland & District Credit Union (SDCU) announced a pledge of $5,000 to Little Learners Academy, the new child care centre at Okanagan College’s Penticton campus.
“A child care centre right on campus is a brilliant idea - both for students and the greater community,” says Kelly Marshall, CEO of SDCU, who says it is easy to get behind a project that clearly addresses a community need.
SDCU is a single branch, independent credit union serving Summerland and the surrounding area. With members across Canada and the world, Marshall notes the donation to the Penticton child care centre aligns with the company’s commitment to support initiatives that benefit all residents in the region.
“Our reach and membership goes beyond Summerland and we want to give back to the communities that support us,” adds Marshall. “We are excited to be part of a development that will fulfill the needs of so many families in the South Okanagan.”
The full media release can be found here.
Nov. 27, 2017
Penticton couple helps feed the minds of young learners
A pair of former educators and longtime supporters of Okanagan College, Allan and Evelyn Markin, have pledged $2,500 to the new Little Learners Academy at the Penticton campus.
The need for a child care centre has been on the couple’s radar since Allan was Campus Principal more than 15 years ago.
“The need for child care was acute and is still an obstacle for parents in the region,” explains Markin. “Affordable, accessible child care is essential to the educational system and a healthy society.”
According to Evelyn Markin, another passion of the couple’s is cooking, which inspired them to support one of the kitchen spaces at Little Learners. As a former elementary school teacher, she understands the influence nutrition and healthy eating has on a student’s ability to learn and process information.
“You need to feed the mind to learn well,” she remarks. “Nutrition has an impact on activity levels, social interaction and brain function, especially in early childhood development. The educational foundation Little Learners provides will help prepare children for success when they face more difficult work in elementary school and afterwards.”
Nov. 8, 2017
Fest of Ale brews up support for little learners
The non-profit wing of the Okanagan’s largest beer and cider festival is pouring its support into the new child care centre at the College’s Penticton campus.
The Okanagan Fest of Ale Society announced a $2,500 gift for the recently-opened Little Learners Academy at their annual grant presentation and volunteer appreciation event on Oct. 12.
Mary Ellen Heidt, Chair of the child care centre campaign committee and member of Okanagan College’s Regional Advisory Board was on-hand to accept the donation from Fest of Ale Society board director Shawn Goodsell.
The Okanagan Fest of Ale Society has a long history of supporting the College and community. For several years they have supported Okanagan College student awards, providing an annual $1,000 scholarship to a second-year Business Administration student at the Penticton campus.
At the event, the Society announced and distributed $60,000 in net proceeds from their 2017 festival to 20 charities in the South Okanagan. Since its inception, the society has gifted $637,660 to deserving community organizations.
Oct. 25, 2017
Community Foundation gives boost to College’s child care centre
The Community Foundation of the South Okanagan Similkameen is adding a building block to the fundraising campaign for the new child care centre at the Penticton campus.
The Community Foundation is contributing $7,490 to help enhance the outdoor play space at the new Little Learners Academy.
“The significance of the new centre goes beyond the boundaries of our campus and will benefit the community and economy,” explains Kathy Butler, Executive Director of the Okanagan College Foundation.
“Providing parents access to child care empowers them to enter or stay in the workforce or focus on their own education. We thank the Community Foundation for recognizing that need and showing their support to give the next generation a quality start to their education.”
Little Learners Academy opened in September and is operated through a partnership between Okanagan College and the Penticton and District Community Resources Society. Registration is open to families in the South Okanagan, including College students and employees.
Click here to read the full story.
Aug. 30, 2017
TELUS supports natural play for young learners at Penticton campus
The great outdoors is about to become even greater at the Penticton campus’ new child care centre with an innovative outdoor learning environment that will be created thanks to a recent generous gift. On Wednesday, Aug. 30, TELUS Thompson Okanagan Community Board announced a donation of $20,000 to the Okanagan College Foundation’s Bright from the Start fundraising campaign.
The outdoor space is designed to follow current research on outdoor learning. Four unique play areas will provide children the opportunity to explore, play and learn through activities that help spark a sense of wonder about the natural environment.
The new child care centre welcomed children in its care this week and the outdoor play environment will be developed later in the year in cooperation with students from the College’s trades program.
The Okanagan College Foundation has a $700,000 fundraising campaign goal. To make a donation or learn more about the project, read the media release.
July 21, 2017
Markin twins issue fundraising challenge to OC alumni
Allison and Quentin Markin have launched a donation-matching challenge to fellow Okanagan College alumni with the goal of raising $20,000 toward the College’s new child care centre at the Penticton campus.
The siblings originally moved to Penticton with parents Allan and Evelyn in 1988 when Allan took on the role of Campus Director for the College. Both parents are well known for championing many educational, fundraising and community-based initiatives in the Penticton area, including the Mad Hatter’s Ball, a fundraising event for the College.
“We wanted to recognize our parents and their connection to the College,” says Allison Markin. “Our parents gave us an appreciation for the transformative power of education and we wanted to pay it forward to the next generation of learners.”
Alumni can donate online and share their support using the hashtag #BrightStartChallenge. Read the full story here.
Provincial funding brings daycare partnership to College’s Penticton campus
Ground was broken at the Penticton campus for a new $1.2-million daycare facility at the northern end of campus. Penticton MLA Dan Ashton announced the facility will be possible thanks to a $500,000 child care major capital grant from the B.C. government and support from Okanagan College and some of its students.
"This is great news for the local families,” says Ashton. “Adding 64 new child care spaces for Penticton-area families who need them demonstrates our government’s commitment to building stronger, healthier communities throughout the province.”
“The new child care centre will benefit the community, but is also a major benefit to our students and staff,” explains Okanagan College President Jim Hamilton. “The survey that was part of the business case for the daycare clearly identified the need for this. We also know that even when our campus is less busy in the summer months, there will be demand for the daycare because of the increase in activity in the tourism and hospitality sector.”
When the 372-square-metre (4,000 sq. ft.) daycare is complete in mid-2017, it will be operated by Penticton and District Community Resources Society.
Read more about the announcement here.