A traditional igloo is a domed snow building built as a shelter by the Inuit people in the frozen north. The igloo built in the Wetaskiwin Early Learning and Child Care Centre is built as a play shelter out of 450 – 2 gallon milk jugs secured with 100 glue sticks. The igloo is complete and the children are thrilled.
Jackie Foster, Caregiver at the Wetaskiwin Early Learning and Child Care Centre introduced the new creation and provided onlookers with some history. “About a year ago a few of us were attending a conference in Edmonton at Grant MacEwan College. As part of that conference we took a tour of the daycare on site. Rhonda Morgan and I were very impressed with an igloo we saw that was made from milk jugs. We wondered if we could actually build one for our centre. How many milk jugs would it take? How long would it take? Would we be able to put it together?”
The two ladies were determined they were going to have an igloo for the children in the Wetaskiwin Child Care Centre. Rhonda Morgan took the initiative and did some research. She wasn’t going to let their dream slide. “Soon we were beginning our own collection of milk jugs only to find out the real work that would involve. Not only would it take what seemed like forever to collect milk jugs, but then there was the whole process of removing labels, cleaning them and making sure we had lids for all of them. We estimated we would need just under 500 milk jugs. It seemed almost overwhelming.”
Debbie Pearson, Fund and Communications Coordinator, Boys and Girls Club (who run the Child Care Centre) heard about the project and was about to make the project much less daunting. Debbie contacted Sid Radis, Plant Supervisor of Saputo Dairy Products, Wetaskiwin who connected the Child Care Centre with David Wood the Plant Manager at Edmonton Logoplaste, a company that manufactures several lines of rigid plastic food and beverage containers, including milk jugs.
Edmonton Logoplaste donated a supply of clean, ready-to-work-with milk jugs complete with lids. Jackie and Rhonda were delighted this barrier had been removed from their project. “We could now begin to realize this project. The plan was made and the gluing began. It might be a cool igloo but I believe it took about a dozen hours of gluing with hot oozing glue guns to complete with 3-5 people involved at any one time.”
The igloo is multi-functional
We have shared story time in the igloo. (1-2 adults and 8 – 10 children). The igloo became a haunted house within its first hours of use, filled with hanging bats and spiders (no doubt the remnants of strings of glue adding to the effect) Polar bears have rested in there only to wake up growling! Some of our youngest have even christened it with their tears. The kids have entered wide eyed and excited. “Hey look, I can stand up in here!” one thrilled child exclaimed. “Wow that’s cool” commented one grandparent. From solitary play right through to group experience this has been a welcome additional play space for the child care centre.
The Centre, located just east of the Bottle Depot, was opened in September 2009 and has a capacity of 64 child care spaces for children 12 months to 6 years. The Boys and Girls Club operates the facility. The Centre is sectioned into various program rooms that are designed and equipped to meet the needs of each of the age group. This layout ensures all children receive the quality care and attention that parents demand and supports the healthy emotional and physical development of the children.
Debbie Pearson explains the value of having this level of day care in the community. “The Child Care Centre is committed to a standard of care for children exceeding the provincial licensing requirements and after the rigorous accreditation process in 2010 is now an Accredited Agency with the Alberta Association for the Accreditation of Early Learning and Care Centre.The Child Care Centre benefits many young families. It also increases the availability of a more skilled, trained labour pool and assists employers to attract and retain employees to work and live in Wetaskiwin.”
The Child Care Centre is a busy hive of activity from Monday to Friday, 6:45 am to 6:00 pm as children play, learn and grow in a fun, positive environment. The Centre serves families schedules and needs with full-time, part-time and drop-in hours.