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Daycare and childcare

The approach of daycare and childcare centres in Canada

Daycare is one option for parents looking for care and supervision for their preschool-age children. It provides childcare for kids, from birth to age six, and sometimes beyond.

There are daycare and childcare centres all across Canada. Most are licensed by a government body, such as the Ontario Ministry of Education. This is in accordance with the Child Care and Early Years Act (CCEYA). Read more


List of daycare and childcare centres

 
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Type
Grades
 
  • Toronto, Ontario
    Leslie/York Mills
  • NS to 12 Coed
  • $12,500 to $26,800

La Citadelle's Excellence in Bilingual Education and academically advanced curriculum develop successful global citizens through IB & AP programs and a holistic approach where students achieve their highest potential.

  • Day
  • Traditional
  • International Baccalaureate
La Citadelle International Academy of Arts & Science 12500 Preschool Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Coed
  • Oakville, Ontario
  • PS to 12 Girls
  • $18,000 to $28,430

Oakville's SMLS continues to be a premier independent school for girls Preschool to Graduating Year since 1891. "Millie" graduates take on the world with confidence and the knowledge that they can do anything.

  • Day
  • Progressive
  • Reggio Emilia
St. Mildred's-Lightbourn School 18000 Preschool Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Girls
  • Etobicoke, Ontario
    Burnhamthorpe Road/Kipling Avenue
  • PS to 5 Coed
  • $4,300 to $10,800

Founded in 1893, Olivet School is a Christian private school in Etobicoke, offering PS-Gr5. Olivet School combines quality teaching with individual attention to help each child achieve their personal potential.

  • Day
  • Traditional
Olivet School 4300 Preschool Kindergarten Elementary Day Coed
  • Etobicoke, Ontario
  • PS to 5 Coed
  • $12,000

For the past 36 years Kingsley Primary School offers programs from junior kindergarten to grade five in Etobicoke. Its average class size is eight to 12 students.

  • Day
  • Progressive
  • Reggio Emilia
Kingsley Primary School 12000 Preschool Kindergarten Elementary Day Coed
  • North York, Ontario
    Dufferin/Lawrence
  • PS to 8 Coed
  • $19,000 to $25,000

Magnificent Minds Inc. caters to learners whose needs are not being met in traditional school environments, pursuing academic excellence, and individual greatness.

  • Day
  • Traditional
Magnificent Minds 19000 Preschool Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools Day Coed
  • Ottawa, Ontario
    Vaughan Street/Bertrand Street
  • PS to 8 Coed
  • $3,250 to $14,950

Ottawa’s Fern Hill School offers Preschool, Kindergarten and Elementary Grades, including extended French. Tuition starts at $2,950.

  • Day
  • Traditional
Fern Hill School - Ottawa 3250 Preschool Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools Day Coed
  • West Vancouver, British Columbia
    Upper Levels Highway/Cypress Bowl exit
  • PS to 12 Coed
  • $19,980 to $24,820

Mulgrave School offers programmes from Preschool to Grade 12 in West Vancouver. Its average class size is 20 students with teacher to student ratios of 1:8.

  • Day
  • Progressive
  • International Baccalaureate
Mulgrave School 19980 Preschool Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Coed
  • Calgary, Alberta
    Crowchild Trail/Flanders Ave
  • PS to 12 Coed
  • $8,000 to $10,000

Since 1979, Banbury's student-paced approach with tutorial instruction is in small, multi-aged groups of 10:1. Meainingful relationships enhance learning. Member of Canadian Coalition of Self Directed Learning--CCSDL.

  • Day
  • Progressive
Banbury Crossroads School 8000 Preschool Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Coed
  • Toronto, Ontario
    Dufferin/Eglinton
  • PS to 12 Coed
  • $17,152 to $19,860

Lycée Français de Toronto is a French school that offers programs from nursery to grade 12. Its average class size is 17 students.

  • Day
  • Traditional
Lycée Français de Toronto 17152 Preschool Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Coed
  • Calgary, Alberta
  • PS to 12 Coed
  • $7,900 to $15,100

Calgary French & International School graduates will be active global citizens with a foundation for life-long success, and our school will be the leader in French immersion and international education.

  • Day
  • Progressive
  • International Baccalaureate
Calgary French & International School 7900 Preschool Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Coed
  • Toronto, Ontario
    Leslie Street/York Mills Road
  • PS to 8 Coed
  • $12,900 to $23,400

The Giles School is a French immersion private school in Toronto for children age 2 (Pre-K) to Grade 8. Open Admissions through Grade 1, small classes, and Mandarin introduced as a third language in Grade 1.

  • Day
  • Liberal Arts
The Giles School 12900 Preschool Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools Day Coed
  • Duncan, British Columbia
    Brownsey Avenue/Government Street
  • PS to 12 Coed
  • $4,800 to $49,300

Queen Margaret's School is an independent day/boarding university preparatory school in Duncan, BC.

  • Day/Boarding
  • Progressive
Queen Margaret's School 4800 Preschool Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Day Boarding Coed
  • Baie-D'Urfé, Montreal, Quebec
    rue Victoria/rue Normandy
  • PS to 12 Coed
  • $7,450 to $10,700

We offer a sound, internationally recognized academic foundation. Our students gain fluency in three languages and achieve mastery of biology, chemistry and physics.

  • Day
  • Traditional
Alexander von Humboldt German International School 7450 Preschool Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Coed
  • Toronto, Ontario
    Don Mill Rd/York Mills Rd
  • PS to 12 Coed
  • $18,375 to $27,290

Bayview Glen is a traditional co-ed day school in Toronto, Ontario from Preschool (age 2) to Grade 12, a global member of Round Square and offers Advanced Placement programme. Tuition ranges from $17,000 to $26,500.

  • Day
  • Traditional
Bayview Glen 18375 Preschool Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Coed

Daycare

Each daycare has its own special approach to supervision, childcare, and education. This is often informed by specific views of child psychology, development, and learning.

In general, though, daycare tends to be quite play-based. Normally, it has plenty of “free-explore” time, unstructured activities, and play-based learning. That said, many daycare centres, especially at the higher levels, provide some structured learning, focusing on academic skills and knowledge, such as reading, writing, math, numbers, and letters.

This contrasts with many preschool programs, which tend to be more academic. Many preschools have more teachers with training in Early Childhood Education than daycares, and more teachers who are Registered Early Childhood Educators (RECE). They also focus more on early learning and academics than daycare through a fairly intensive curriculum. And some have less unstructured play time than daycares.

Childcare

Childcare simply refers to any place where a child is cared for. This can mean a number of different things.

It may, for instance just involve one-on-one homecare provided by a parent, nanny, or someone else. Childcare may also be provided in an out-of-home setting. Here your child may simply be “looked after.”

Like daycare, though, childcare can and often does provide much more than babysitting. It often includes structured play time, with organized activities which allow kids to explore and learn. Many childcare centres also have some play-based learning. And some even provide some sit-down learning. Normally, though, childcare providers focus less on early learning and cognitive development than preschool.

Pros and cons of daycare and childcare centres

Daycare and childcare centres aren’t right for all children. They do have some major benefits, though. They also has come potential disadvantages.


Below we look at some pros and cons of daycare and childcare. Keep in mind, this is not an exhaustive list.

Daycare and childcare

Pros

  • May be open during summer and holidays.

  • May offer before- and after-care.

  • May be more affordable than one-on-onecare.

  • Licensed and regulated by provincial government, unlike one-on-one care.

  • Safe and highly supervised.

  • Lots of social activities and interaction.

Cons

  • Less individualized learning and one-on-one time than preschool.

  • Less focus on early learning and academics than preschool (usually).

  • Children may be less prepared for the school years than those who attend preschool.

  • Higher child-to-adult ratio than one-on-one care.

  • Infant daycares can be hard to find.

To learn more, read our comparison guide of preschools and daycares, and preschool pros and cons guide

Choosing a daycare or childcare centre

Should you send your child to a daycare or child-care centre? And if so, at what age?

These are challenging questions. And there’s far more to them than the table above.

What’s most important is to look at specific daycares. You should look into their approach to care, supervision, development, learning, and more. You should also try to get a feel for the environment and the care providers.

Finally, you should consider whether a daycare is a good fit for your child. Does it fit your child’s personality, learning style, and social and emotional needs? Is your child likely to thrive there? Is there likely to be a long period of adjustment?

There’s lots of research to be done here. And you won’t want to take shortcuts given what’s at stake here—your child’s well being.

Below, we list daycare and childcare centres in Canada. Click on a profile to learn all about it, including its approach to early childhood development and education. You can also click through to a daycare’s website and register your child.

Series: Preschools

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