April 5th, 2017 ~ Vol. 87 No. 14
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Little Mountaineers open its doors
Crowsnest Pass Herald Front Page
Anna Kroupina Photo
Stacey Bole with her three-year-old son James playing with a magnet board at the Little Mountaineers Learning Centre, a daycare that opened at the beginning of March in Coleman.
ANNA KROUPINA
Pass Herald Reporter
For 10 years, Stacey Bole had mulled over the idea of opening her own daycare until finally taking the plunge last year with the purchase of the old vet clinic in Coleman. Six months of renovations later, Stacey Bole and her husband J.J. opened the doors to the Little Mountaineers Learning Centre on March 6.

The wheelchair-friendly daycare is licensed to accept children from 12 months to 6 years old and offers three bright, spacious play areas, one for children aged 12 to 18 months, another for 19 to 35 months and a third one for ages three to five.

Local Coleman restaurant Limber Pine Smokehouse & Taberna caters the lunch and two snacks provided by the daycare on a four-week rotational menu that follows Canada’s Food Guide.

Different learning centers intended to stimulate brain development are placed around the rooms. There is a kitchen area, a space to play with blocks, a bin filled with different types of sensory materials and a quiet centre with puzzles, books and other games that promote cognitive development.

The stations go beyond just having fun, as the daycare curriculum is focused on kindergarten readiness and developmentally appropriate activities for the kids, says Bole. This includes toilet training, instilling appropriate table manners, learning general life skills and early numeracy and literacy capabilities.

“We’re committed to helping kids reach their peak potential. I wanted to create an environment where kids can reach their full potential at their own pace by learning through play. I want these kids to be ready for kindergarten when they get to that stage. I want it to be a safe place for them, a home away from home.”
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A staple feature of Little Mountaineers is their no screen time policy. There are no televisions at the daycare, and the kids do not play on touchscreen toys.

“As a mom, I know that my child probably has more screen time than they need to, so I like to focus more on learning through play,” says Bole. “I feel like most children get enough screen time as it is that there is no need for it in our daycare. We have enough activities and kids here that I don’t think it’s necessary for the daycare to have a TV.”

Working over 20 years in the child care field, Bole always knew that she wanted to open her own daycare.

“I’ve talked about doing a daycare for over 10 years now, but just never jumped in with both feet. It was never the right timing,” says Bole, who has worked in daycares and pre-schools, and was also a therapy assistant for children with special needs at Alberta Health Services and at Renfrew Educational Services.

In 2014, she went on maternity leave and once her son James was born, she encountered difficulties in finding appropriate childcare for him while she was at work.

This prompted her to open a day home that she ran for two years from her house in Coleman and it was soon apparent that there was an increasing need for more childcare.
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“I also had a wait list in the day home. I had lots of parents asking for more childcare so for me, the day home was getting busier and busier, it was taking over our house, and so it was a natural progression that we found this building and thought it was a good fit for a daycare.”

It was a long, grueling six-month process of renovations and bringing the building up to code that delayed their envisioned opening from September 2016 to now, March 2017.

“The last six months, we were bringing it up to 2014 building code as well as following the regulations for childcare licensing, fire and safety, and health and safety,” says Bole.

The Learning Centre has a capacity of 24 kids, and accommodates rotation schedules, and full time, part time and casual childcare needs. Little Mountaineers is open from Monday to Friday, 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. For more information, contact Bole at daycare@bole.ca.
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April 5th, 2017 ~ Vol. 87 No. 14
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