by Barbara Black
New faculty members Bart Simon and Jill Didur are not expecting until
March, but their baby is already on the waiting list for the daycare centre
on the Loyola campus.
Debra Brindamour can tell them all about it. Her Mateo has been
on the list for two years. Hes now two years, four months old, and
being cared for by a babysitter who comes to his home.
Centre de la Petite Enfance les Ptits Profs has a waiting list of
more than 250 children, so Brenda MacDonald, who is co-director with Sandra
Chang, doesnt hold out much hope. We only graduate about a
dozen children every year, because they stay until they are old enough
to go to kindergarten, she explained.
The daycare centre, located in a large house on Belmore Ave. just east
of the campus, is homey, well equipped and highly regarded, but with room
for only 48 children, its too small to meet the demand.
As CUFA representative in his department, Simon has seen a substantial
increase in university teachers in their 30s. Typically, they have just
finished their doctorates, theyre in a relationship, and theyre
ready to start a family. Within the next four or five years, theres
going to be quite the backlog, he said.
Juggling home life and preparing for tenure can be difficult, and he thinks
its in the universitys long-term interest to make things go
smoothly for new faculty members.
Making sure that our home life is stable provides an indirect payoff
for the university. It could be an important part of its general growth
Brindamour, who has interviewed and researched many daycare providers,
says shes happy with the care Mateo gets at home and admits that
it makes it easy for her to get out to work in the morning, but shes
envious of the camaraderie and socialization her little boy is missing
by not being with other children his age. Its a wonderful
little daycare, she added wistfully.
Looking to expand
The Ptits Profs takes advantage of university resources, using Loyolas
skating rink, gym and dance facilities, and providing internships for
students in the early childhood education program.
It is a cooperative, run by an active board of parents. Together with
the directors, they put together a business plan last year aimed at convincing
the university of the need for expansion into another Loyola building.
However, current construction has made the space crunch at Loyola tighter
than ever. Instead, the board has proposed building a second daycare facility
nearby, and the university is considering its options.
The Ptits Profs started in 1984 at the initiative of staff members.
Half the spaces are reserved for the children of staff members, one-quarter
for the children of faculty, and one-quarter for the children of students.
If another daycare centre were built, these priorities would be reversed:
half the spaces for faculty, one-quarter for staff and one-quarter for
students. Thats because of the influx of young faculty members.
Concordia also has a downtown daycare centre, and it, too, has a long
Brindamour is Assistant to the Dean of Arts and Science. Were
hiring a lot of new professors for next academic year. Most of them have
young families and are from outside Quebec. What do we tell them?