Recent research on brain development has brought to light the very important role that a child’s first 5 years of life plays in their development. The quality of the relationships and environment in a child's life determines their long term success both socially as well as academically, long before they even reach school and will follow them into adulthood. This is why governments are beginning to enroll children in formal education at younger and younger ages, although there are many who question if exposing children to school board ratios addresses the issue of building quality relationships…but that is a whole other debate!
In light of this new research, choosing high quality childcare for your little one has never been more important than it is right now! Finding the right fit for your family can often be a daunting task with limited access to high quality yet affordable childcare options.
It is my hope to be able to offer some resources to help parents who are just beginning to search for a quality childcare solution to find the option that matches your family’s needs, not only for the short term but hopefully a long term solution.
Ontario currently has three basic childcare options:
Regulated / Licensed Childcare Centres: click here for more information
Regulated / Licensed Home Childcare Agencies: click here for more information
Unregulated / Unlicensed Childcare: click here for more information
For more information on the Child Care and Early Years Act that governs both regulated and unregulated childcare please click here to see it in its entirety.
The Ministry of Education also offers parents and providers a Frequently Asked Question flyer that might be helpful.
Creating a checklist of questions to ask can help parents ensure that they are not only getting only the information needed to make an informed choice but to also able to compare the options available to them by seeing how different programs rate compare to each other.
Whether choosing a regulated or unregulated solution it is ultimately up to parents to ensure that their choice is one that feels ‘right’ in their gut. Although government standards and regulations are helpful in setting a minimum standard of care it is not a safety net to ensure that these standards are continually met. Therefore it is important as a society that we take responsibility for our own actions and choices!
Whether we like it or not selecting childcare is no different then any other consumer industry…it is a service being provided and some people are go into business for the sheer love their job and put their heart and souls into ensuring top quality service or product and others are just in it for a quick buck and do the bear minimum in order to make the sale. Just like choosing a new home or buying a car…you need to do your own research, have an inspection to ensure that everything is safe and in working order.
Click here for a sample checklist:
**Persons are more then welcome to use the list as a frame of reference or ideas, however if you are choosing to make a complete reproduction of the checklist please remember to give credit to the original author. Margaret Wake, RECE, AECEO.C. **