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Alumni News

Choosing Quality Childcare

September 11, 2012

When it comes to choosing the right childcare centre for your children, the A’s have it: Availability, Accessibility and Affordability. The biggest challenge is finding all three. If the facility is in a convenient location, it doesn’t have an opening, or the policies are not suitable. And then there’s the cost. Full time care for one child ranges anywhere from $600-$1500 a month, depending on the age of the child and the centre. But above all these considerations is the quality of the care.

With full-day kindergarten now a reality in Ontario, “parents nowadays look for not only a quality, licensed program, but for an academic component in the program which can prepare their child for later on,” says Shahla Ambreen, (Early Childhood Education, 1999).

“Parents also appreciate programs where children are encouraged to take initiative, so the curriculum is developed to revolve around the child's growth and interests,” says Shahla who owns and operates the Fun to Learn Montessori School in Streetsville and the Learn ‘N Grow Childcare Centre in Mississauga.

These types of programs are found at high quality centres that go above the norm. “Regulations are only minimal standards. High quality programs and caregivers offer more than what is required,” cautions Alka Burman (Early Childhood Education, 1998), Early Literacy Specialist for the Region of Peel. She suggests parents meet or visit at least three child care supervisors/facilities. “The more you see, the better you will feel about the choices you ultimately make.”

Alka and Shahla offer this advice:

Top 10 Questions to Ask When Choosing a Child Care Facility

  • How much experience and training does the staff have?
  • Are there separate areas and toys for each age group?
  • Are the children and staff happy and cheerful?
  • Is there high staff turnover?
  • Is nutritious food being served?
  • Can you visit whenever you choose?
  • Are there parents you can contact for a reference?
  • Is the program stimulating? Does the program offer choices?
  • Can you comply with all of the policies and procedures (sickness, pick-up times)?
  • Does the facility provide regular communication through newsletters and calendars?

More info:

As the needs of families have changed over the past decade, so have childcare facilities.

Top Trends in Childcare
  • More focus on early education - partly due to high parent and primary school expectations
  • More extra-curricular programs such as yoga; more activities involving parental participation
  • Flexible drop-off and pick-up hours - more parents are working from home
  • More social work referrals - families have become busier and more stressed-out
  • More children with allergies – all staff need to know how to use an epipen
  • More children with autism – staff need to be familiar with autism spectrum disorders
  • More cultural diversity - programs incorporate elements from many cultures in the classroom
Shahla Ambreen Alka Burman
Shahla Ambreen
Early Childhood Education, 1999
Alka Burman
Early Childhood Education, 1998