Shuttered daycare has 'history of non-compliance'

A “significant rodent infestation” was chief among the reasons an east Saint John daycare was forced to close its doors last week, along with dirty toys, floors and rugs, a hole in the wall and exposed insulation.

According to a Feb. 28 facility inspection report of Rhymes and Chymes Daycare, shelves covered up a hole in the wall, there was wet drywall and insulation, along with rodent droppings.

The report said both the preschool’s rooms had dirty rugs and floors that needed to be “thoroughly cleaned,” along with toys that had accumulated “dirt and debris.”

The exterior of the building located at 130 Golden Grove Rd. had “fallen into disrepair,” the report said, with “debris accumulating” under the deck.

Provincial spokesperson Tara Chislett said it amounted to “imminent danger to the health, safety and well-being of children at this facility.”

On Friday, the province announced it had revoked the licence of the childcare facility, and had notified the families of the 40 children attending the centre.

“This facility has an ongoing history of non-compliance and there are several structure, health and safety concerns present, including a significant rodent infestation,” Chislett said via email.

The inspection report, filed by the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development, also said two educators didn’t have valid first aid training certificates, and had been instructed to correct the problem during previous inspections dating back to October 2022.

“Cannot be alone with the children until completed and confirmation sent to Inspector,” the report reads.

The daycare educators also lacked “proof of professional learning.”

According to the province’s Early Childhood Services Act, a staff member who works directly with infants or preschool children is required to have 10 hours of training per year. The training is supposed to be related to the curriculum and approved by the minister of education and early childhood development.

Furthermore, “forms of literacy” were not present in the room for two- and three-year-olds, the report says, along with “no documentation of children's learning.”

Additionally, children's files were left out on a shelf over a weekend, instead of being locked in a cabinet, and some incident reports were incomplete or not signed by parents.

The inspection report shows daycare educators had been given multiple chances to address the deficiencies listed in the inspection.

Chislett said the decision to revoke the licence was done after “thorough investigation” and after several compliance orders were issued.

The Telegraph-Journal reached out to Dianne Trenholm, listed as the operator of Rhymes and Chymes, but did not receive a response.

A recent staff report by the City of Saint John found there are just 40 open daycare spots throughout Saint John. The provincial government has committed to $10 per day daycare by 2026, pledging to add 3,400 preschool spaces throughout New Brunswick within the same time frame.

- With files from Emma McPhee

Marlo Glass, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Telegraph-Journal