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Rec centres, businesses offering services

Mar 02 2012

Recreation and community centres, businesses, lone entrepreneurs and art centres are all jumping into the breach to provide options for parents who need child care during the planned teachers' strike next week.

Laura Pratat, 17, was one of the first on a local classified ads site to offer her services next Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. The Grade 11 student at Vic High will be out of school, so thought she could make extra money and help out struggling parents by babysitting. For $15 an hour, she'll also do light housekeeping and make meals.

She remembers the last teachers strike in October 2005, and the difficulties it caused many parents. That strike lasted 10 days.

"I just remember it seemed like a real scramble for people then," Pratat said.

Licensed daycares with spots available, stayathome parents and off-work teachers are offering their services for a variety of prices.

Jeff Shultis is a certified teacher who doesn't have a teaching job but does provide tutoring. "I'm trying to help out. I'm also willing to do child care in someone's home if they can't find any."

Many municipal rec centres in the region are offering day camps for students, as are some community centres, although it's a bit of a scramble to find the extra staffing.

Many are first-come, first-served with payment in advance, so that staffing plans can be made.

The Better Business Bureau advises people to be extremely cautious when turning to online listings for short-notice care.

"While there is a time crunch to have child care in place, parents need to ensure that their children are safe and secure," said Lynda Pasacreta, BBB president and CEO.

Here are links to websites where details of the day programs and camps can be found:

? Saanich Parks and Recreation is accepting registration for professional-development day style service for school-aged children. The cost is $38 a day, with service at Commonwealth Place, Pearkes and Gordon Head rec centres. www.saanich.ca or call Charlene Parker at 250-475-7100.

? Oak Bay rec centre is offering its Skidaddle camp for $34 a day, for ages five to 12 years. See recreationoakbay.ca

? West Shore recreation is offering first-come, first-served programs. westshorerecreation.ca

? The Boys and Girls Club of Greater Victoria will provide care from 7 a.m. to 5: 30 p.m. at its Harbourside and Millstream clubs for $30 per day. For more information, call 250-380-9250 (Harbourside) and 250-478-0721 (Millstream).

? Shaw Ocean Discovery Centre has extra programming and a day camp from 9: 30 a.m. to 3: 30 p.m. for $35 plus HST per day, for eight to 11 year olds. They're making a waiting list for younger students as well to see if there is enough interest. Contact Leshell Michaluk at marketing@oceandiscoverycentre.ca or call 250-889-3215.

? Kaleidoscope Studios is offering "Dynamic Drama" for ages six to 12. www.kaleidoscope.bc.ca or call 250-383-8124

? Sportball Victoria has full-day camps. www.sportball.ca

? High-tech company chatterblock is set up to give parents a complete list of programs and activities for their kids: chatterblock.com

Please email localnews@timescolonist.com if you have other options.

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