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Wednesday, January 13, 2010

All-day daycare gone to the birds

I literally couldn't believe my eyes. I almost choked on a baby carrot while perusing the map of the "proposed school site list for full-day kindergarten". Where there should have been lots of little location flags around the area of Danforth and Danforth East on the virtual map, there was a gaping hole of nothing. When the program roles out in a few years, there will literally be no all-day daycares in Wards 15 or 16.

Let me put this in perspective: On my side of the block there are 8 houses. Four of these residences (all in a row, I might add) have children under 2. This is just my side of the street on my tiny block. In a neighbourhood where you can't move a step without stumbling over a Mountain Buggy or a Bugaboo, I thought it was completely shocking to see such short-sightedness on behalf of our fearless leaders.

I called up Ward 16 Trustee Sheila Cary-Meagher, as she is the rep for my little pioneer's future school Earl Beatty. I was pleased to find out that she is also infuriated by Mr. McGuinty's dim-witted minions and their choice of schools. However, she did explain something that softened my heart a little bit.

First, to qualify, your school can't already have a daycare in it. Sigh. Both Beatty and MacGregor already have stellar daycares installed within.

Secondly, the all-day care program was not necessarily created to help out middle class (or upper middle-class) folks like me. It was created to assist people who are less fortunate than me, who can't afford daycare for more than one child because both parents work in low-paying jobs or don't work at all. Free daycare may be that one thing that will help that family climb out of poverty. The program was also created to provide a better, if not equal, opportunity for learning for kids in places like Crescent Town or St. Jamestown, which are a little rough around the edges. Kids who need that additional support network more than my little one, who will probably have the luxury of two parents home in the evening to help with homework.

My final thought is that, yes, it will be tough when the time comes to get the junior pioneer from kindergarten to another child care space in the middle of the day (because God knows, I probably won't get into Beatty Buddies as the waiting list is three years long) but when the time comes, I most likely will be able to find the means to pay for it. So, here's to hoping that although I won't benefit from this program, someone who really needs it will!

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