A local daycare that left behind a toddler-aged boy at a north-end Halifax park Tuesday morning says it will no longer be allowing children under its care to leave its site.
Two teachers at Kids and Company daycare on Barrington Street took a group of 10 toddlers out for a walk offsite to a nearby park, and left one behind.
Police were called and the young boy believed to be around two was located unharmed by several citizens around 10:45 a.m. Halifax Regional Police spokesman Const. Brian Palmeter estimated the child was alone for between 10 to 15 minutes.
CEO Victoria Sopik of the Toronto-based Kids and Company said Tuesday afternoon because of this incident, they're stopping the practice of its daycare workers taking kids off-site for walks to parks or playgrounds. She said it was “unbeknownst to us” the practice was even happening in Halifax, adding it goes against Kids and Company corporate policy.
“It’s well accepted in Halifax but it is a contravene of our policy,” she said. “They must remain in their fenced-in area.”
Sopik said the child was left behind after the teachers improperly counted the number of children as they were leaving the park. She said the teachers — who “have been disciplined” — realized they left the child behind as they were walking back to the daycare at 3260 Barrington Street.
“Well when you’re walking with a group of children, what can you do. It’s not like you can rush everybody back. So they had to call police, which was the right thing to do,” Sopik said.
“(But) that’s the problem,” she added. “It’s not like I can get in my car and drive. I have these children I’m looking after and you can’t leave one teacher with a whole group of children. That’s the reason we feel it’s not a good plan.”
Sopik said the parents of the boy were made aware of the situation and “have been very good about it and understanding.”