EXCLUSIVE: Miss Vicky’s pre-school in Westmount at risk of closing
WESTMOUNT – Miss Vicky’s pre-school has been a staple of the Westmount community for 28 years.
Thursday, the owners received a notice from the provincial government saying the pre-school has to close by March 11.
“How dare they?” said Alexander Gross, whose three kids attend Miss Vicky’s.
“How can a government that’s supposed to be helping us, work directly against us?”
The pre-school has been in a dispute with the government over hours of operation for two years.
“In 2013, we were advised that we could only be open for four hours a day,” said public relations consultant Jonathan Goldbloom.
“At that time, Miss Vicky’s also had an afternoon program. So, the decision, after consultation with the Ministry, was to shut down the afternoon program. So now, Miss Vicky’s is only open from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.”
Why? Simply because it’s the law.
Not long after, in 2014, the church downstairs decided to hire an outside company to offer an afternoon program.
That means children can go to FunZone from 1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. – after pre-school has ended.
The government is now arguing FunZone is an extension of Miss Vicky’s, which would mean the preschool is open five and a half hours a day, therefore operating illegally.
“For the past two and a half years we’ve been harassed,” said Victoria Naday, owner of Miss Vicky’s.
“That’s how we feel, we’ve been harassed.”
Naday said at the end of the day, it’s all about the children, which is why parents are fighting to keep Miss Vicky’s alive.
“It’s a wonderful pre-school,” said mother Daphne Tsadiles-Schamie.
“All the teachers that have taught my now 17-year-old all the way down to my five-year-old are the same teachers who bring so much love and kindness and nurturing, day-in-day-out with unwavering commitment.”
Global News reached out to the Family Ministry for comment, but was told representatives were unavailable.
“It’s home,” said Naday.
“My philosophy is it takes a village to bring up a child and we’ve brought up many children in this little village.”
© 2016 Shaw Media