The Portage Ukrainian Nursery School hopes the relaxed COVID-19 restrictions will help children stay in their nursery throughout the year.

Director Lori Carpenter says, while some of the staff have stopped masking, she and some others decided to keep wearing them. She explains that the choice is up to each employee, but she decided to continue so that kids who want to mask up won’t feel ostracized.

“We put HEPA filters in the room, so we've improved the air quality in our space,” explains Carpenter. “We’ll continue to do those kinds of things. We're also ready if the government says at any point we need to start masking again.”

BernardBernard Côté

One thing Carpenter was excited to share was the return of the children’s art show. At the end of May, the Trinity United Church auditorium will host the show, where the kids will get to see all of their hard work pay off. Prairie Fusion Arts & Entertainment will then showcase the artwork throughout parts of June.

“Our population here is very diverse,” notes Carpenter. “Right now, we have a lot of newcomer families in our afternoon class. Almost half the class are our newcomers to Canada, but we have no one from Ukraine, which is kind of ironic.”

The director says one obstacle that they were able to overcome was simply getting items out of storage.

“For years, we used an extension ladder, and we climbed three flights of stairs, put things away, then put away the extension ladder,” mentions Carpenter. “Late last year, the Community Foundation of Portage and District granted us $25,000 to make our storage safe. Now we access our storage rooms directly from the same floor as the nursery school. The children can go into the storage room now and help to bring supplies and equipment into the playroom.”

Carpenter, along with the rest of the nursery’s staff, hopes that everyone has a happy and safe 2023.