Playschool lead facilitator expands access three fold in 2022, resigns months later

Hand drawn sign reads, “Welcome to Cortes Island Playschool”.
Lead playschool facilitator Hannah Schwartzentruber resigned in April, after increasing childcare access three times in 2022. Photo by Loni Taylor.
Loni Taylor - CKTZ - Cortes IslandBC | 28-04-2023
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The Southern Cortes Community Association (SCCA) has been expanding the Playschool at Mansons Hall over the past year and half, aiming to reach demand in the community for childcare needs.

Hannah Schwartzentruber was hired to the Playschool back in January 2022. SCCA executive director Tammy Collingwood described the juggling of the playschool administrative tasks as a "chaotic administrative burden:" Schwartzentruber had been taking on the Playschool's administrative role which includes managing ministry subsidies for childcare providers, which, on top of running the playschool, was unsustainable, Collingwood explained.

“Within the ministry, and the amount of actual administrative work that goes into trying to access these funds, it almost negates the amount of money that you receive because amount of paperwork and back and forth and the disorganization and that’s what's so hard too, especially for Hannah who's working full-time in the play school, trying to navigate that system while looking after the kids. It just wasn't working.”

Based on local demand for childcare, Schwartzentruber managed to expand childcare licensing for the play school in three separate actions over her time administrating the play school. The early childhood educator doubled the playschool frequency to a four-day-a-week program, and managed to offer two full days of childcare, and two half days. The third expansion was age-based, making children 10-30 months old eligible for play school. These tasks were complete in 2022, according to Schwartzentruber. Roll-out for the last expansion into all-ages was delayed for at least 4 months by the SCCA board due to the "significant culture change" of including younger children with the toddlers. 

Schwartzentruber recently resigned from the playschool and her last day facilitating is April 27. The early childhood educator spoke with CKTZ on her last day at the playschool.

"My resignation was a difficult choice but, ultimately, I stepped down from my position largely due to the working dynamics of the organization. It was very challenging to advocate for these changes and a steep learning curve to work with the board. I'm so grateful to families, my coworkers and other community members for standing together with me and pushing for these important changes. After taking a break I look forward to returning to childcare in the future, and will definitely circle back with renewed energy after integrating these experiences.”

Collingwood sent a letter to parents on April 17.

“We will greatly miss Hannah, as I'm sure you and your children will as well," the letter reads. "We wish her the best of luck in her new career and relocation. My goal is to find adequate facilitator coverage in order to continue our services to you uninterrupted for the months of May and June.”

With Hannah resigning, executive director Tammy Collingwood has started taking on some of the administrative tasks operating the playschool, which includes balancing a financial budget; grant writing; subsidies paperwork; human relations management of the play school’s employees; outreach to parents; and media/community relations. Collingwood is sharing this responsibility with Janice Tomlinson, the new financial coordinator for the SCCA.

To hear more about the balancing act of running the play school, listen to the CKTZ Update below: