Nova Scotia

Children at Cape Breton daycare donate stuffed animals to Fort McMurray kids

Children at a daycare in Sydney have found their own way to help kids thousands of kilometres away who fled the Fort McMurray wildfire.

Sydney daycare says Fort McMurray wildfire is a teachable moment for kids

Five-year-old Emilie Alderson and her donation of a stuffed tiger. (Holly Conners/CBC)

Children at a daycare in Sydney have found their own way to help kids thousands of kilometres away who fled the Fort McMurray wildfire.

They've collected more than 50 teddy bears and other stuffed toys to send to the Red Cross in Alberta.

"There was a fire and it burned all the toys down," says five-year-old Emilie Alderson, a pre-schooler at Health Park Early Learning Centre.

Daycare owner Helen Gamble says some children have been talking about what's happening in Fort McMurray. She says staff saw it as a teachable moment.

"To help them learn not to be afraid, first of all, and that everyone got out safe, and that maybe we could do some small acts of kindness to help the children," says Gamble.

Children at Health Park Learning Centre in Sydney helped collect stuffed animals to send to Fort McMurray. (Holly Conners/CBC)

A comfort

"Stuffies are a comfort to children," Gamble says, "and some children chose to donate their own stuffies, and parents came and bought stuffies. So we have mixture of many kinds."

Gamble says Same Day Courier has offered to ship the toys to Alberta free of charge.

Senior preschool teacher Nicole Walker says the kids have been keen to help.

"It's really nice to see them get excited about giving back and giving to others in need," she says. "It's teaching them the importance of giving even no matter how big or how small."

Five-year-old Katie Rodden donated a stuffed monkey. (Holly Conners/CBC)

Walker says five-year-old Katie Rodden has been especially excited. 

She brought in a stuffed monkey, and was happy to demonstrate what she thinks the kids from Fort McMurray should do with the toys: "Snuggle them."