Choosing Quality Childcare
Finding quality childcare arrangements can be a challenge. This information will help you determine the best options for both you and your child.
What is Quality Childcare?
Quality childcare is a program that meets the needs of both you and your child. There are a few things to watch for when you are looking for childcare.
A quality childcare program should be helping your child’s development. The childcare program you choose should help your child grow in these common areas - social, emotional, physical, cognitive, and language. Ask your childcare provider what they do to help your child’s development.
A quality childcare program should have quality staff. The staffs who are working in the program have your child’s best interests in mind. They should have training, education, and the skills to work with young children.
Here are some points that may help you with your decision:
- Is there a license from the Ministry of Education?
- Is the space clean, bright, safe, and welcoming?
- Did I get to meet the supervisor and have the policies explained to me?
- Do the staff members greet us?
- Are the menus up for me to see? Is there a variety of healthy food?
- Is there a place to play outside?
- Do I know what qualifications my child’s teachers have?
- Are there special events for my child? Are parent nights available?
How Do You Find Quality Care?
Finding a childcare arrangement that works for you and your child can be challenging. It’s an emotional decision to trust the care of your child with other people. Choosing a quality program that fits with your family can be a great sense of support for you and your child. It can take some time to find care that best suits your needs.
Think about the following questions to get started:
- Why do I need childcare? What hours of care will I need?
- Does the centre I’m looking at take children the age of my child?
- What are the fees? Can I afford that? Can I get subsidy to help with those fees?
- Would I like to have my child in centre-based or licensed home childcare?
- Is the centre/provider’s location convenient?
Writing a list of questions and calling around to centers and caregivers is an important step. It is a good idea to make an appointment to visit – otherwise the supervisor or caregiver may not be available when you pop in.
When you are there for your appointment look around and take note of how the setting makes you feel. Remember childcare settings are busy places so visiting more than once may help you. Most childcare providers will require you to visit before your start taking your child there. This is an important step.
Help with questions about childcare is available by calling Best Start at 1.866.720.7975.
Licensed childcare centers follow the rules of the Child Care Early Years Act. If you have questions about the rules and licensing you can contact the Ministry of Education through the website at www.children.gov.on.ca.
Being An Effective Childcare Parent
The partnership between your family and your childcare provider is important. Make sure you know the policies of the centre. Check in regularly with your child’s caregiver and supervisor.
It takes time to communicate about your child’s day so sometimes you may need to schedule a time to talk with your caregiver privately. Adjusting to a new childcare situation can be upsetting to children and it may take a bit of time and effort for you to get to know your new caregiver.