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MacKenzie Infant Care Centre

Pat Totten, then director of the MacKenzie Infant Care Centre, June 1991.
Tuan Nguyen (Regina Leader-Post)

The Mackenzie Infant Care Centre (MICC) commenced operation in Regina in September 1986. MICC was established to meet the needs of young single mothers who attend classes at the Special Tutorial Class of Balfour Collegiate in Regina. The concept of MICC set the protocol for subsequent daycares throughout Saskatchewan and Canada.

Special Tutorial was founded in 1972 to assist young pregnant women to complete their education in a setting where they would have the opportunity to receive not only academic instruction, but also pre-natal classes as well as caring and esteem building. Special Tutorial at Balfour Collegiate was the second such class formed in Canada, and remains the longest-serving tutorial of its kind in the country.

It became evident that being a young mother and pursuing an education was a very onerous task: looking after a newborn, finding a babysitter, traveling to a babysitter and getting to school on time proved to be almost impossible for most young mothers.

For a number of years the staff at Special Tutorial recognized the need for safe, affordable daycare to meet the needs of the young mothers who attended the school. Shirley Schneider, who headed the Special Tutorial Class along with other dedicated staff members, encouraged the Regina community to support the concept of an infant care centre being an adjunct to the Special Tutorial Class. Thanks to the work of the Junior Service League of Regina and the Gannett Foundation, funding was procured to purchase a house across the street from the school, which was renovated to meet the criteria for a daycare. The Regina volunteer, service club and business community, as well as many individuals, continued to support the MICC with gifts of money and goods in kind.

The Mackenzie Infant Care Centre was named to recognize the contribution of Alex Mackenzie, who as an administrator of the Regina Board of Education had the vision to promote the establishment of the Special Tutorial Class at Balfour Collegiate.

In 2004 MICC served twelve infants under the age of one at the house site, and twelve toddlers up to the age of 18 months housed in the school. The young mothers continue to be encouraged to breast-feed their infants, and receive comprehensive parenting instruction as well as a wide array of information on how to be the best possible parent to their child. In addition to the specially trained care givers, many other professionals are on site to provide instruction, guidance and counseling to enhance the quality of life for these young women and their children.

Shirley Schneider

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