Pushing puffins

Tender called by provincial Department of Education for nesting dolls

Published on April 13, 2014
This photo from Amazon depicts puffin nesting dolls. The Department of Education wants to buy 6,000 similar dolls.
— Amazon.com photo

Wanted: 6,000 puffin nesting dolls.    

For a number of years, the province has been buying toys as part of an early childhood learning initiative, but recently called tenders that add stronger cultural images.

Each year, the Department of Education buys thousands of early learning toys, such as interactive blankies, books and CDs.

Now it’s adopting the Russian nesting doll with an iconic Newfoundland and Labrador image — the puffin.

Three-piece puffin nesting doll sets — similar to the sketch on the tender call — sell at online retailer Amazon for $16 apiece.

Other tenders aimed at early learning include supplies like crayons, trays to contain arts and craft materials.

But Newfoundland images are also built into the requirements for the purchase of 6,000 baby wash mitts-hand puppets.

The selection must include at least two Newfoundland and Labrador animals, including seal, puffin, Newfoundland dog, polar bear, duck, but also penguin (which isn’t known as a native bird).

 A spokeswoman for the Department of Education said the choice of toys is made by a selection committee, which aims to include, if possible, cultural relevance.

This puffin dolls are for the 2014-15 KinderStart program and accompany a book entitled “Peter Puffin.”

The nesting dolls are intended to foster fine motor skills, cognitive abilities and communication.