Complaint laid over wandering toddler

WILMA MCCORKINDALE
Last updated 09:10 22/08/2014

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An official complaint against Punavai Ole Atamai Preschool is before the Ministry of Education after a child wandered away from the Dunedin centre undetected on Monday.

The ministry's head of sector enablement and support Katrina Casey told Fairfax Media on Wednesday it was urging New Zealand preschool staff to be doubly vigilant about children left unattended.

It was viewing a Dunedin case with extreme seriousness.

The child is Regan Preston, 2, whose mother, Vicky Preston, has told the Otago Daily Times she has laid an official complaint over the incident.

Casey said the ministry's Dunedin office had arranged a meeting with Regan's parents to discuss the incident. She believed the reason the child had been able to leave the preschool could have been due to a faulty latch on its front gate. As a result it did not always shut as intended.

Regan wandered out of the preschool, crossing Dunedin's busy Macandrew Rd, and was located by a member of the public 100 metres away from the preschool.

Casey said the ministry was reviewing the service licence of Punavai Ole Atamai Preschool as part of its investigation of the incident.

"We are always concerned when we hear of incidents where the safety of young children has been put at risk," she said.

"Thankfully, in this case the child was returned safely to the centre by police."

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