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MLA objects to daycare’s ‘no off-site trips’ policy

Nova Scotia’s community service minister doesn’t agree with the stanceof a local daycare not letting children under its care off-site.

Nova Scotia’s community service minister doesn’t agree with the stance of a local daycare not letting children under its care off-site.

Denise Peterson-Rafuse was responding to news of Kids and Company — a daycare on Barrington Street — that took a group of 10 toddlers out for a walk off-site Tuesday to Fort Needham Memorial Park in north-end Halifax and left one behind.

Police were called and the two-year-old boy was located, unharmed, by several neighbours around 10:45 a.m. Halifax Regional Police spokesman Const. Brian Palmeter estimated the child was alone for 10 to 15 minutes.

Victoria Sopik, CEO of Toronto-based Kids and Company, said because of this incident, the company is stopping 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’s corporate policy.

Peterson-Rafuse said yesterday her department is investigating the incident.

“If all the safety measures are put in place, children should have the opportunity with the daycare staff to go off site,” Peterson-Rafuse said in response to the company’s policy.

“If we need to be more supportive in some areas ... to allow that to happen, that’s what I want to look into.”

Sopik said the toddler was left behind after the two teachers improperly counted the number of children as they were leaving the park.

She said the teachers — who “have been disciplined” for their actions but not fired — realized they left the child behind as they were walking back to the daycare.

Kids and Company does have an outdoor, fenced-in playground area for children.

 
 
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