As a parent who has gone through the daycare search, I can honestly say it was one of the most daunting and worrisome experiences I had gone through to date. The decision to go back to work and place your child in the care of another adult is such a difficult one!. For many of us, the choice to go back to work or not, is not an option, so daycare of some sort is happening! Read about our experience here.
Everyone has their own priorities when it comes to finding the right care for their child.
Here are some of the most important things (that I strongly suggest) you look into when you are considering a daycare facility:
- Is the daycare licensed? Are the child-care providers ECE trained and First Aid certified? Do they take in practicum students, and how do you feel about the comings-and-goings, if so?
- What type of care are you looking for? Daycare centre? In-home daycare? They each have their advantages!
- What is the ratio of child-care providers to children? Most are 1:4 or 1:6. You’ll have to decide what you are most comfortable with.
- What is the turnover rate of staff? Happy staff is always a good thing!
- How long is their wait-list? Many daycares have a 1 year wait-list, especially in Vancouver!
- Cleanliness. If the daycare is carpeted, how often are the carpets cleaned? How often are the toys wiped down? General cleanliness of the facility/space.
- Location. Is it on the way to work or will you need to add time to your morning and evening commute?
- Outdoor space. What will your child’s daily outdoor time look like? (and make sure there IS daily or twice-daily outdoor time!)
- Is the day structured or more ‘free-flowing’? What is important to you and your child? (You know your child best!)
- How much does it cost per month?
- What are the hours and facility closures. Some facilities are open earlier in the morning and/or stay open later in the afternoon. If you need to be at work by 9am and the daycare doesn’t open until 8:30am, you might want to consider a different place.
- Whether or not food is provided. There is a range here from in-house chefs to BYOF (bring your own food). You’ll have to weigh the options and decide what is most important to you, taking into account all the other factors you’ll be considering.
Clearly, there is a lot to consider, but going on daycare tours and having your questions ready, will help you make the most informed decision. Bring this checklist with you, if your memory needs jogging!
For parents on the North Shore, there is a great new daycare, Peekaboo, that opened up at the top of Capilano Road that currently has spaces available. It may just be your daycare-dream-come-true!