Castle of Learning

Kenora city council's decision to close the Castle of Learning and Discovery Children's Centre has left many wondering how to handle the situation. A lack of daycare spaces in the region has been a problem a problem for quite some time, and the closure of the spaces in Kenora has left parents and daycare workers uncertain about the future. Tim Kasprick is a parent who's daughter is enrolled at the Castle of Learning, and he notes the inconvenience that the closure will cause.

"It's handy using this facility. When she leaves junior kindergarten she goes across the hallway until 5:30. Now I'd have to pick her up from school and then take her to a daycare. If I'm picking her up, I might as well just take her home," he said.

He notes that he is self employed so has the flexibility to pick her up, but notes that many other parents do not have that option. He says he will try to get on a waiting list for another daycare, but may just keep her at home.

Daycare worker Meghan O'Hara says they were also upset with council's decision.

"People are probably going to have trouble finding spaces for their kids. Our staff are going to be out of jobs. We're upset," she said.

Early childhood educator at the Castle of Learning, Jenn Barton says that despite reassurance from council, their future remains uncertain.

"We're unsure as workers where we are going to go. The mayor says that he's confident we will have work at other centres, but as of right now, we don't know what's going to happen with us. The children too, they hope and wish there will be spaces for them, but there's nothing confirmed," she said.

She also says that she was surprised with the decision after many parents came to the meeting to oppose the closure.

"I'm pretty surprised. We have such a good parent support group. I thought maybe their wonderful speeches and support for us might make a different, but it looks like they're not going to budge for us," she said.

She says that at the Castle of Learning, the waiting list is multiple pages, and other centres have similar lists of parents waiting to get their children into a daycare.

Supporters will be holding a meeting at the Travelodge on Thursday at 7 p.m. The Kenora District Services Board will also be discussing the issue, when they meet on Friday morning in Dryden at 10 a.m.

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