A thank you
to Dave Kirkland
(L-R) Marion Butt, retired coordination
director; Dr. Carole Peterson, chair of the Childcare Centre;
Dave Kirkland; Ann Goebel, former coordinating director; and
Tracy Rose, coordinating director.
Recently, a thank you reception was held at the MUNSU/MUN Childcare
Centre for Dave Kirkland to acknowledge the enormous debt of
gratitude we all feel for what Mr. Kirkland has done for the
centre, and in fact for the existence of childcare at the university.
Mr. Kirkland spent many years as the general manager for the
Council of the Students Union (now MUNSU), and in that
capacity he was an unfailing champion of the importance of having
high quality childcare here on campus. When a daycare centre
began at Memorial University, it was a single large room that
was mostly underground, sharing the basement of Burtons
Pond apartments with laundry facilities. It was begun in 1975
by a very far-sighted student council which realized that readily-available
child care was not a luxury for student parents, but a necessity.
As manager of the CSU, Mr. Kirkland was intimately involved with
the Childcare Centre and had a permanent position on the board
of directors. In the early 1980s, it was clear that the centre
was too successful there were too many children that it
couldnt accommodate. Most importantly, parents were very
concerned about what to do with their children who were school-aged.
This was before after-school care was available in schools, and
there were very few options for student parents.
Mr. Kirkland was instrumental in the expansion of the childcare
facility to include a second centre. He found a location for
this centre, the former cafeteria in Burtons Pond, and
negotiated for its use. However, this same area was needed by
students for a student recreational centre. With Mr. Kirklands
help, a compromise was worked out: during the day the room provided
childcare for school-aged children, and at night it was available
for student activities. The centre thrived.
However, it was apparent to everyone that these facilities were
substandard. So, the board of directors began to dream of a new
building a building built specifically for childcare.
A building with multiple centres, including one to accommodate
another age group that had been ignored, two-year-olds.
Mr. Kirkland was central to the existence of the beautiful Childcare
Centre complex (housing four separate centres) that currently
exists on campus. Because the perspective of student parents
was seldom directly represented in council meetings, Mr. Kirkland
became their voice. He helped the CSU councillors to understand
campus childcare is of critical importance to these parents.
As a consequence, Memorial became one of the first universities
whose student organization provided a daycare centre complex
that was built specifically for children, and we still have one
of the best such facilities in North America.
Over the years, helping the centre to happen and supervising
the designing, building and running of the place, stepping in
when fiscal crises occurred (which they did all too frequently
in the early years) Mr. Kirkland was always there. Marion
Butt, the director of the original Childcare Centre in the basement
of Burtons Pond apartments, became the founding administrative
director of the new Childcare Centre complex.
She called Mr. Kirkland the glue that made it all come
together. Without Daves commitment, there would probably
have been no childcare on campus.
Ann Goebel, who replaced Ms. Butt after her retirement, called
Mr. Kirkland a visionary in the field of early childcare
Tracy Rose, the current administrative director of the centre,
said, probably without realizing it, Dave has touched the
lives of many people. Because of the Childcare Centre as it is
today, he helped create a safe haven for children and parents,
and the early childhood educators who staff the centre. There
is no comparison in terms of quality when it comes to childcare
centres, and we are all fortunate to have such a place.
On behalf of the approximately 2,000 children who have been in
the centre as well as their parents, the staff of the centre
and the board of directors, a very big Thank You, Dave.
Dr. Carole Peterson, chairperson
MUNSU/MUN Childcare Centre Board of Directors
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