During this process there are a number of questions families can ask to establish which program is best suited for their needs. Here are some points to consider when choosing a quality child care program.
1. Health & Safety
Our primary concern is always about our children’s well-being and safety. Every child should have the opportunity to develop a sense of self, health, and well-being. Does the program:
- Provide nutritious food that incorporates family and cultural preferences?
- Believe in increasing the amount of time children engage in physical activity?
- Are chemicals, hazardous materials, and dangerous equipment kept out of reach of children?
- How would staff react in a situation that requires first aid?
If you do not feel that your child will be safe in the program, this can be an indicator that you should continue your search and a find a caregiver that meets your expectations.
The best educators use a warm, responsive, and inclusive approach. Knowledgeable educators play with children to support development, challenge children, and extend their learning.
- Are all educators Registered Early Childhood Educators?
- Are staff engaged in regular professional education and mentoring?
- Is the program part of a quality initiative such as Raising the Bar in Peel?
- What is the ratio of children to staff
Educators should work towards developing a relationship with families and caregivers by, learning about, with and from one another.
3. Program Philosophy
In your search you will come across many different approaches to learning. However, it is important for you to decide what the best fit is for your child.
- Ask staff what instructional methods or curriculum are in place, such as play-based learning, or Montessori, and how it fits with research and best practices.
- What behavior guidance strategies are in place to support children?
- Does the program address your child’s abilities, needs, and interests?
- Do they have access to innovative and unique learning materials and technology available in the classroom?
Often times the cost of a program can be a factor in your decision.
- Clarify what the cost of the program is before registering your child.
- Ask about other costs not included in the weekly fee (e.g. trips and transportation).
- What subsidies and financial assistance are accepted or available?
- Are receipts available for income tax purposes?
- Is there as fee for late pick up at the end of the day?
There are so many elements at play when trying to choose a quality child care program. The process of finding something that works for you and your child can often times be very stressful. CDRCP can help you find what you are looking for. Download our Parent Guide to find out more about how to choose quality child care, or call 905-890-9432 to speak to a Certified Information and Referral Specialist, and get connected to the information and resources you need!
Government of Ontario (2014). How Does Learning Happen? Ontario’s Pedagogy for the Early Years. Toronto, ON: Queen’s Printer for Ontario.