The sprawling playground at Gingerbread Preschool and Daycare is alive with the chatter of toddlers. Under the watchful eye of their teachers, tiny drivers are steering their toy cars and bikes on the pathway. Spades are at work in the sandbox and buckets are filling up fast. Since the facility reopened in June, the two in-house goats are back to getting their daily dose of pats and hugs.
Soon the children will be taken inside to wash their hands and eat their snacks. They will then have circle time where they learn new concepts every day through songs, rhymes and stories.
“Gingerbread was started back in 1973 by my mother, Margaret Caron, and I took it over 12 years ago,” says owner Cathy Morin.
Located in Brentwood Bay on the picturesque Saanich Peninsula in British Columbia, Gingerbread Preschool and Daycare is invested in providing quality early childhood education. The experienced staff at Gingerbread prepares toddlers for school through stimulating play-based learning in a safe and nurturing environment.
“We have 20 full-time daycare children on the first floor and 40 part-time preschool children downstairs,” says Cathy, who manages a team of six employees.
After Gingerbread shut down in mid-March due to the pandemic, Cathy got in touch with Peninsula. Talking to an HR expert at Peninsula helped her realize she needed to update her employee contracts and other documentation.
“I realized that taking over from my mum, I was doing things the way my mum did. I was basically doing a contract based on what my mum did 40 years ago,” she says.
“With new young staff coming on board over the last few years, I was probably not covering myself properly and putting myself in a position that I could be taken advantage of,” she says.
When it came to COVID-19 health and safety measures, Cathy says she consulted doctors and modelled Gingerbread following Public Health guidance.
“The province has been helpful in sending out guidelines we need to follow, so that has been good,” she says. In a scenario where information and guidelines kept changing as more was discovered about the virus, Cathy says Peninsula helped her move forward with protocols.
“We drew up our protocols for parents to sign. Saying if your child is showing any symptoms, they must stay away for 10 days or get tested. We’ve revamped our cleaning schedules and added things to what we were already doing,” says Cathy.
The Peninsula service
Gingerbread has been a Peninsula client since May 2020. Cathy says the service has been excellent so far. “I basically wanted help with the contracts,” she says. “Having the contracts done up and all handbooks for staff to have access to was good for me.”
“I needed to cover myself in terms of employee contracts and people taking time off and things like that. Things you hadn’t really thought about or maybe took for granted… it was good to have them in writing,” says Cathy.
“It has been great to be able to call in and talk to someone at Peninsula,” she says. “I’ve been really happy.”