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GTA strike preps: Daycares, camps & other places to keep kids busy

Every public elementary school in the GTA will be closed on Friday when teachers – members of the Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario (ETFO) – will hold a daylong protest.

Premier Dalton McGuinty has asked the Ontario Labour Board to intervene, hoping to avert a one-day strike.

But if it goes ahead as planned, parents will be scrambling to find alternative arrangements for their children. For those who do not already have childcare made, here are some options for Friday:

• The city of Toronto said that city-run child care centres at TDSB sites will be open as usual. However, independently-operated child care programs at TDSB sites might be affected. Parents and guardians are advised to check with the individual schools.

•   City-run Parks, Forestry and Recreation programs that take place at public schools before 6 p.m. will be affected. After School Recreation Care (ARC) programs are being moved to alternate locations and parents will be informed directly by staff on Thursday.

•    Several YMCA locations around the GTA will be offering day camps for children four to 12 at a cost of $40, from 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Click here for more information.

•    Several community centres offer day programs and activities for all ages. For a list of community centres in the GTA click here.

•    The Art Gallery of Ontario is holding an Art Day for students from junior kindergarten to Grade 6. The full-day program will run from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., with extended care program hours from 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. It costs $60 per student for members and $75 for non-members. Click here to register.

•    The Rouge Valley Conservation Centre is holding a daylong mix of nature activities, crafts and outdoor exploration (weather permitting) for children ages six to 12. The camp runs from 8:30 a.m to 4 p.m. and costs $20. Children must bring their own lunch – no nuts. Click here for more.

•    The Ontario Science Centre is holding a day camp from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. for children ages 5 to 12 . It costs $75 ($70 for Science Centre members). Extended care is available for $10 more, from 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.

•    The Royal Ontario Museum is holding a $65-day program ($55 for members) for children ages five to 14. It runs from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., with drop-off starting at 8 a.m. and extended supervision until 6 p.m.

•    Variety Village is charging $5 for a day pass to the entire facility, including the swimming pool. The centre is open from 6 a.m. until 10 p.m. Children must be accompanied by an adult. They’re also holding a day camp, which is $60. The camp runs from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. (Extended hours, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m, costs an extra $8.) Click here for more.

•    Brampton’s Jumping Jacks Indoor Playground will be open from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. They’re also holidng a day camp for kids ages four to 12. The camp runs from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.  and costs $25 ($15 for a half day).  Click here for more

•    Young People’s Theatre is holding full-day workshops for those in senior kindergarten to Grade 6 at the theatre and at the nearby St. Lawrence Community Centre. There is also very limited space available for junior kindergarten (JK) students in a half-day workshop option. The workshop runs from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. and costs $30 ($20 for half-day JK students). Early drop-off is available from 8:30am.

•    Glenview Presbyterian Church, in the Yonge Street and Lawrence Avenue area,  is running a “strike camp” for children in JK to Grade 6 from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Cost is $10 per day, and children must bring their own bagged lunch. Call (416) 488-1156 or click here for more information.

What are your plans? Share your thoughts in the comments below.