Closing of McCauley School impacts daycare

By Seamus Smyth

A vacant playground will become the norm at McCauley School after this semester. PHOTO CREDIT—Jordan Wilkins

By James Pavel and Jordan Wilkins

April 27, 2010

EDMONTON—In an aged part of Edmonton lies a school surrounded by churches, stricken by poverty and two years shy of it’s 100th anniversary.  Unfortunately, the school will never reach the century plateau because it will be forced to shut its doors to students and teachers this coming September.

Unknown to many, the closing of McCauley will not simply affect parents, teachers and students, but will drastically affect a lifestyle that many rely on in order to work.

The Multicultural Health Brokers Co-operative Daycare rests inside McCauley School and looks after the children while their parents are at work.

The closing of McCauley school delivered a crushing blow to the daycare.  The daycare was open a mere four days before the school closure was announced.

Many of the children are from families of single mothers who have utilized the daycare’s extended hours in order to provide a living for their children, while they can be comforted knowing their children are being taken care of while receiving an education at McCauley.

The strong connection between the school and the daycare made the daycare a desirable place for parents to take their children, knowing that the transition to kindergarten would be less stressful because of the familiarity that the children already have with the school, said the daycare’s assistant supervisor Lili Sartorius.

“All our dreams went down when we found out the school would be closing.  This daycare treats all its members like one big family,” said Sartorius.

The warm atmosphere derives from the daycare’s proximity to McCauley School, with the supervisors knowing that unlike most daycares, these children were likely to have gone through many more years of school together. But with the closing of McCauley that is now uncertain, said Sartorius.

McCauley not alone

It is not only McCauley School that will be closing its doors at the end of June.  Fulton Place, Eastwood, Capilano and Parkdale also share the same fate as McCauley.

A truly multicultural daycare

The daycare lives up to its multicultural title, boasting a high number of children from a foreign country. Out of 20 children currently attending, only five of them were actually born in Canada, with a very large percentage being native to Ethiopia.

The bond and the convenience of having a day care with many children being from the same area is a feeling that four-year-old daycare-member Tenzaye takes seriously.

“They are all my brothers and sisters,” she said.

Tenzaye was born in Ethiopia and comes from a single-income family. Her time at the Multicultural Health Brokers Co-operative Daycare has given her the chance to form bonds with other children her age that had the potential to bloom for many years.  But with the closing of McCauley School, many of the children are uncertain whether or not they will stay at the daycare, or move to one closer to their future schools, Sartorius said.

The future of the daycare is still uncertain. It will remain open but for how long, Sartorius doesn’t know.

Although the daycare itself was not included in the closure of McCauley school, it creates a difficult and trying task for parents to find a new, secure location for their children to be both educated and looked after.

“I don’t want it to be closed.  It’s not fair,” said Tenzaye.

External Links:

Five Edmonton schools to close, Edmonton Journal

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