There’s nothing like collective action to bring out the community spirit. As teachers and school professionals prepare to strike for at least three days next week, parents and caregivers are banding together to help each other out.
“Daddy daycare is open for business,” N.D.G. mom Sandrine Campeau-Simeone said. “My hubby is home with our two kids and opening up our home to a few of their friends who may not have the same luxury of having a parent at home. Pizza making, baking and Lego competitions are on the agenda.”
English Montreal School Board and Lester B. Pearson School Board institutions will be closed Tuesday through Thursday, while schools under the Centre de services scolaire de Montréal will be closed for an indefinite period as of Tuesday unless agreements are reached ahead of time, as will EMSB’s FACE School.
A brief scan of parenting chats on social media shows Campeau-Simeone’s family isn’t the only one opening their home for kids whose parents have to work during the strike days.
Fellow mom Gayle Laird is stepping it up a notch: “We’ll be using the time to decorate the house for Christmas,” she said excitedly.
Everything fell neatly into place for Jenny David. Since COVID and because U.S. Thanksgiving isn’t a holiday here, she hasn’t been to visit her American family in years. She took a chance a couple of weeks ago, when it appeared a strike was imminent, by purchasing plane tickets.
“I was nervous, because if they cancelled the strike, then my son would miss school for three days,” she said. “Florida, here we come.”
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For caregivers who can’t take time off work, can’t bring their children to work or don’t have a local support system, some Montreal businesses are running strike-camp programs, like HoneyBooks (facebook.com/HoneyBooksca), Jabberwocky Corner (jabberwockykits.com) and Montreal Children’s Theatre (montrealchildrenstheatre.ca).
Hey, don’t forget that teenagers will be out of school, too, and they make great babysitters. Hiring a teen gives them a little pocket money and you the freedom to concentrate on other things during the day.
Finally, use the opportunity to teach your children about workers’ rights and the power of collective action. If you think they’re too young to completely understand what’s happening, read them The Day the Crayons Quit by Drew Daywalt, or Click Clack Moo by Doreen Cronin and Betsy Lewin.
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