One of the most important things new moms spend time on during their maternity leave is finding daycare for their LO’.
Questions about daycare and talks about waiting list are the most common topics among new moms in Toronto. I tried here to summarize all the things you need to know when you start looking for a daycare and also added some tips and helpful sheet to organize all.
Options for child care in Toronto, Ontario:
1. Child care centre: Usually from infant to pre-school.
Many centres offer spots with subsidies.
2. Licensed home daycare: up to 6 kids per home.
Licensed home daycare linked to an agency, some offer spots with subsidies
3. Unlicensed home daycare: up to 5 kids per home.
Anyone in Ontario can open a home daycare at his house or unit, with up to 5 kids (no license needed).
Where to start your search for a daycare:
1. Child Care locator on the City of Toronto website. Click here for more details
2. Google search: search for “Daycare Toronto” and you will get a Toronto map with centres in your area.
3. Licensed home child care agencies:
There are 19 agencies that operate in Toronto, but only 10 of them work with the subsidy program
Click here to see the list of the agencies on The City of Toronto website
4. Kijiji: Search for “home daycare” in your location, or click here
5. Ask friends, neighbours, coworkers, or family members if they can recommend a daycare.
6. Check your community board.
7. Check if there is a daycare at your local church, synagogue, community centre, etc.
8. Ask others mommies in your Facebook mommy group
Waiting lists for daycare in Toronto
The waiting lists for the Daycares centers in Toronto are extremely long.
The actual waiting time depends on your location and how many centres there are in your area.
It might be a good idea to put your name on a waiting list while you are pregnant, as the waiting list for some of the centres can is around a year and 2 months.
My best advice is to locate all the daycares in your area and add your name to their waiting lists as soon as possible.
Just as FYI, many parents adding their name to a few waiting lists (more than one for sure). But each kid will use only one spot in one daycare. That means that long waiting list might be shorter. Once they confirm with a family that they don’t want or need the spot, they moving to the next family on the waiting list.
Questions to ask when you visit a Daycare
When you visit the DayCare for the first time, there a few important questions you should ask.
I listed here my questions. I’m sure you gonna have a few more, for things that are more important to you.
- The number of kids in one class.
- The size of the class
- The number of teachers in the center and how many are certified?
- Hours of operation.
- What happens in case you are late to pick up?
- Food menu
- Is the food cooked in-house or provided by a catering provider?
- Do you need to provide any baby food or milk?
- Daily routine
- Weekly activities
- Is there any TV in the center?
- The outdoor play area (check if it is safe)
- Will you get any report at the end of the day?
- Are all the kids in the center vaccinated?
- Changing diaper table.
- Washroom for the kids and if it close enough to the class
- Nap time arrangement, bed, and bedding.
- Will the stuff help with putty-train?
- What happens in case of sickness? When a sick kid allowed to go back?
- Payment fee and payment schedule.
- Subsidy option.
- Vacation schedule.
- Parking options for drop off and pick up time.
Also, be aware while you visit if the centre is clean and organize. Check if all the kids are in their class and if they have any organize activities and circle time.
While I was searching for a daycare, I used to organize all of my notes in one place. It really helped me to keep track of everything, and check quite often the waiting lists status.
I want to share with you my sheet. I believe you will find it very helpful.
You can download the file from the link here, and later edit it on your computer. It is a Microsoft Word doc.
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