Student resource: balancing studies with caregiving

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Board games, books, puzzles, and an activity schedule on a calendar page.
As usual, your local library branch offers more of what you need! Victoria Baht

It may be challenging to balance the needs of your children with your own

Over the last few weeks, the Carillon has been on the move highlighting available resources that may make students’ lives a little easier and safer on campus. Our series has focused on the University of Regina (U of R) Student Success Centre, Centre for Experiential and Service Learning, Campus Security, and the Student Awards Management System.  

In this issue, we switch gears a bit to investigate resources available to students with children, or with children in their extended families and communities. U of R students are a diverse group, and if you are a caregiver for children, you may be challenged to balance their needs with your own needs as a person and a student. The Carillon has done some of the initial footwork for you and gathered some beneficial options offered both on campus and elsewhere in the City of Regina. 

Let’s start with the resources on campus. Two licensed daycare services are housed right at the university. They operate from 7:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. The on-campus locations and hours accommodate student needs considering that the earliest morning classes generally start at 8:30 am and afternoon classes end at 5:15 pm. This time frame could allow for getting children to and from care and you to and from classes. 

Licenced, or regulated, childcare refers to care that is monitored by the Government of Saskatchewan, Ministry of Education. Regulated homes and centres meet and maintain specific standards stated in The Child Care Act, 2014 and The Child Care Regulations, 2015. Staff in regulated Child Care Centres are Early Childhood Educators or are receiving training to be such. A parent using a regulated service can apply and may be eligible for a Child Care Subsidy to help them meet costs. 

The first of the two daycare options is the Wascana Daycare Co-operative. The Wascana Daycare is located on campus grounds at 3809 Wibazuką Road near the College West Building. A benefit of this regulated daycare is that it is affiliated with the university and so at least half of the children attending must be children of full-time university students. They follow a model of childcare that encourages children to spend time in mixed-age groups where they can learn from each other and create a family-like atmosphere. Ages of children attending average between 18 months up to 12 years old.  

This daycare is unique because it follows a co-operative model and hours to help parents keep continually involved in their children’s daycare experience and in the success of the centre as well. Families pay a $5 membership fee to join and must commit at least two hours of their time per month to the daycare centre. Do not panic if you are on a tight schedule as there are many flexible options on how this time is spent.  

Options include volunteering to assist with field trips, cleaning, yard maintenance, helping with fundraising initiatives, and contributing supplies. The directors of the centre also encourage parents and caregivers to pitch their own creative ideas on how they can get involved with their children and the daycare community. While the daycare is currently full, University of Regina students may still have their name added to a wait list. More details are available at wascanadaycare.com.  

The second daycare on campus is Awasis Child Care Co-operative located in Kīšik Towers. They offer similar hours of operation and can accommodate the needs of children aged 6 weeks up to 12 years old, including children with specific individual needs. This regulated daycare prioritizes the enrollment of children of students, faculty, and staff at the University of Regina and the First Nations University of Canada. They also follow a co-operative model that mandates two hours of parental volunteerism per month, or an opt-out fee for the year. Awasis Child Care Co-operative may be contacted at 306-585-5322. 

A parent might also struggle with keeping their little ones occupied while they study. Getting your children involved in their own ‘studies’ or activities may help. For example, the Regina Public Library (RPL) branches have much to offer. You can sit down and study while your children also sit down and read a book, make a craft, or play a board game. The Carillon made a trip to the Regent Place Branch and found some great options for supervised kids to enjoy. Not only does the library offer books to borrow, but it also offers board games, as well as computer stations and a study area.  

The library also offers several programs that can benefit you and your children. Depending on the age of your children, some programs involve the child and the parents, and some involve just the child. For example, “Stay and Play” is a program for children under five years of age where you can socialize, read, and play with your child. “Family Story-time” is where you spend some time reading with your child. These programs can help get your children used to the area and the surroundings for future study sessions.  

Now, if your child is a little older and is attending school, you may just need some more after-school time to study while they are occupied. A program like “STEAM Lab” for children aged 8-12 years old that encourages exploration of science, math, and art is one option to consider. While your child is involved in the STEAM Lab, you can grab a seat at the library and get to work. They also have Chess and Lego Club for younger ones. Check out the RPL website for details on all future programs at their various locations at reginalibrary.ca. 

Maybe libraries are not your child’s vibe, but you still need some time after school hours to get your studying done. Some community centres in Regina offer a free “After School Program” that takes place in the afternoon hours following the end of the school day. These are designed for children from kindergarten to Grade 8. There are open gym times in some neighborhoods for various ages. For early evenings there are free Youth Evening Programs for children ages 11-15 years old. Find the details at regina.ca. 

The Carillon hopes that some of these resources are beneficial to students in addressing childcare needs during university class hours, as well as thinking creatively about how to blend family and study time in ways that support wellbeing. 

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