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March of the little ones

Chris Windeyer
Northern News Services

Iqaluit (Nov 27/06) - A small army of toddlers marched through downtown Iqaluit in blizzard-like conditions, and while they might have done it to prove a point, they were also in it for the juice boxes and Rice Krispie squares.

National Child Care Day was Nov. 20, and that gave most of Iqaluit's 250 daycare kids a chance to meet and sing songs. But for organizers, there was a message behind it.

"All the daycares get together so all the children can interact with each other," said Lori Hoffe, director of the Aakuluk Daycare. "We want everyone to know how important (the kids) are."

Hundreds of children, along with daycare workers, parents and supporters walked from the Arnaitok complex to the Cadet Hall.

It wasn't a long march, but one through the capital's busiest intersection, which brought out city bylaw and the RCMP to provide a low-speed escort complete with flashing lights.

That itself is great fun for the kids, said Rachel Clow of the Tasiuqtigiit Society.

It's all about kids," she said. "It's just making a fun day for them."

Clow also said the day is a chance to emphasize the importance of subsidized daycare spaces, particularly in Nunavut, with its high population of youth.

"There is a higher need here," she said.

After songs, the kids and their parents sat down for juice boxes and snacks provided by Baffin Canners.

David Ageeagokp said he puts his toddler daughters Minnie and Christine in daycare to foster good social skills and to get them ready for grade school.

"They get a good structure in place," he said.

Then, pausing to help Minnie punch the straw through the top of her juice box, he lamented: "They'll grow up too fast."