In early 2017 the Province of Ontario set out Ontario’s Renewed Early Years and Child Care Policy Framework in an effort to increase quality daycare spaces throughout the province but what does that mean for parents, looking to get their children into daycare. At this point not much as it begins with policy, what parents really need are tips on ensuring that their children are enrolled in a quality program, like those offered by Sunrise Montessori for Infant, Toddler, Casa, and Elementary aged children.
Like any program, especially one that involves care for your children, it requires an appropriate level of research, looking for clearly defined programs, and an open invitation to visit the facility, just as Sunrise Montessori does. To help you make this important decision, here are a few tips on researching daycare for your child.
Until there is a childcare space for every child needing it, the first tip is to start looking as far in advance as you can. Begin by thinking about which type of child care may fit your family’s needs, your child’s personal style best, and that can support your child’s future learning. Begin your search by calling your local experts and referral agencies.
Next, ask questions. Before you visit, create a list of questions that you plan to ask each program, and note indicators of quality that you will look for including:
- Adult to Child Ratio: Ask how many children there are for each adult – the fewer the children for each adult, the better, you want your child to get plenty of attention.
- Group Size: Find out how many children are in the group – the smaller the group, the better. Caregiver Qualifications: Ask about the caregivers’ training and education like degrees and/or special training in working with children who will be able to help your child learn.
- Turnover: Check how long caregivers have been at the center – it’s best if children stay with the same caregiver at least a year, getting used to new caregivers takes time and energy that could be spent learning new things.
- Accreditation: Find out if the child care provider has been accredited by a provincial or national organization.
- Do a policy check: Do they share your parenting philosophies on topics such as discipline; television; feeding; sleeping; and inquire about the sick-child policy. The more questions you ask early on, the less likely you are to be unpleasantly surprised later.
Finally, look. While word-of-mouth referrals from other parents or trusted resources are important, you need to look at a place for yourself to assess whether it meets your needs. When you’re visiting a potential site, pay attention to how the staff interacts with the children, because until your baby can talk, you will be relying on what the caregiver tells you about your child’s day. Visiting and participating in events at your child’s program tells your child and your child’s caregiver that you think what your child is doing and learning is important. Make sure you can communicate comfortably with each other.
For parents and children in Markham, more information on Sunrise Montessori’s programs and admission is available on our website. Contact Sunrise Montessori at 905-477-2833 today, we’ll be happy to answer all of your questions, including about subsidized child care at our Markham centre.