Daycare and childcare

The approach of daycare and childcare centres in Canada

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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


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List of daycare and childcare centres

 
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Prestige School - Richmond Hill Campus


Richmond Hill, Ontario
Major MacKenzie Dr. W/Bathurst St.
 
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"Prestige School offers individualized programs from pre-school to grade twelve in Richmond Hill with an average class size of twelve students.

  1. We are ministry inspected and a proud member of the Ontario Federation of Independent Schools.
  2. Our curriculum exceeds Ontario guidelines as a result of our individualized, accelerated learning.
  3. Our code of conduct promotes self-discipline and responsibility.
  4. We provide extracurricular clubs, sports and supervised after school tutorial assistance.

—From the school

  • Gr. PS to 12 (Coed)
  • Traditional curriculum
  • $15,000 to $18,000
 
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Prestige School - Richmond Hill Campus 15000 Preschool Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Coed
Toronto, Ontario
York Mills Road/Bayview Avenue
 
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"Junior Academy offers programs for students from Toddler to Grade Eight, in midtown Toronto. The average class size is 10 to 14 students and it caters to many types of students with different learning profiles." —From the school

  • Gr. NS to 8 (Coed)
  • Progressive curriculum
  • $10,000 to $32,000
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Junior Academy 10000 Preschool Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools Day Coed
Ottawa, Ontario
Buena Vista Road/Springfield Road
 
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"Elmwood School is Ottawa's pre-eminent school for girls from PreK to Gr. 12. Our high academic standards, small class sizes and safe, supportive environment ensure that each girl is inspired to reach her full potential." —From the school

  • Gr. PS to 12 (Girls)
  • Progressive curriculum; International Baccalaureate
  • $16,970 to $32,800
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Elmwood School 16970 Preschool Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Girls
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"Calgary French & International School's immersive French language learning environment and enriched curriculum for children aged 19 to grade 12 inspires a deep curiosity, respect and exploration of the world around them." —From the school

  • Gr. NS to 12 (Coed)
  • Progressive curriculum; International Baccalaureate
  • $9,200 to $18,570
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Calgary French & International School 9200 Preschool Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Coed
Duncan, British Columbia
Brownsey Avenue/Government Street
 
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"Queen Margaret's School is a gender inclusive independent day/boarding university preparatory school in Duncan, BC that focuses on preparing young trailblazers...no two journeys are the same." —From the school

  • Gr. PS to 12 (Coed)
  • Progressive curriculum
  • $17,500 to $79,230
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Queen Margaret's School 17500 Preschool Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Boarding Homestay Day Coed
Toronto, Ontario
Leslie Street/York Mills Road
 
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"The Giles School has small class sizes, leadership programs and intensive STEAM learning that support both immersion and introductory language programming in English, French and Mandarin." —From the school

  • Gr. PS to 8 (Coed)
  • Progressive curriculum
  • $21,530 to $26,155
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The Giles School 21530 Preschool Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools Day Coed
Belleville, Ontario
 
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"At Albert College, every student is an 'A' student. From Pre-Kindergarten to Grade 12, our students experience all 5 of the Albert 'A’ s: Academics, Arts, Athletics, Active citizenship and Adventure programming." —From the school

  • Gr. PS to 12 (Coed)
  • Traditional curriculum
  • $21,400 to $85,500
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Albert College 21400 Preschool Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Boarding Coed
Ottawa, Ontario
Vaughan Street/Bertrand Street
 
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"Ottawa’s Fern Hill School offers Preschool, Kindergarten and Elementary Grades, including Core & Advanced French. Tuition starts at $3,250." —From the school

  • Gr. PS to 8 (Coed)
  • Traditional curriculum
  • $8,750 to $15,200
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Fern Hill School - Ottawa 8750 Preschool Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools Day Coed
Baie-D'Urfé, Montreal, Quebec
rue Victoria/rue Normandy
 
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"The Alexander von Humboldt German International School Montreal is a multilingual (German, English and French), private, co-educational school serving students from preschool to grade 12." —From the school

  • Gr. PS to 12 (Coed)
  • Traditional curriculum
  • $9,950 to $12,950
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Alexander von Humboldt German International School 9950 Preschool Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Coed
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"GIST is the only full-time German school in Toronto offering high-quality education that empowers students to excel as global citizens. Our Character framework strengthens and promotes the best in every student." —From the school

  • Gr. PS to 11 (Coed)
  • Progressive curriculum; International Baccalaureate
  • $12,300 to $22,300
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German International School Toronto 12300 Preschool Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Coed
Etobicoke, Ontario
Bloor/Shaver
 
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"Kingsley's small classes and personal approach help students reach their unique potential. Each child is seen, heard, and respected. French, music, and phys-ed round out a program which includes plenty of time outdoors." —From the school

  • Gr. PS to 5 (Coed)
  • Traditional curriculum; Reggio Emilia
  • $7,500 to $13,000
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Kingsley Primary School 7500 Preschool Kindergarten Elementary Day Coed
West Vancouver, British Columbia
Upper Levels Highway/Cypress Bowl exit
 
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"By inspiring excellence – the continuous pursuit of personal best - in education and life, Mulgrave strives to equip lifelong learners to thrive in a diverse and interdependent world." —From the school

  • Gr. PS to 12 (Coed)
  • Progressive curriculum; International Baccalaureate
  • $26,850 to $30,290
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Mulgrave School 26850 Preschool Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Coed
St. Catharines, Ontario
Ontario St./Welland Ave.
 
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"Heuristic & autodidactic, inspired by Sudbury & democratic models. Students are self-directed, and holistically empowered. Voluntary attendance, year-round calendar, agency, & consent inspire free learning. Also Forest" —From the school

  • Gr. NS to 12 (Girls/Coed)
  • Progressive curriculum
  • $57 to $10,000
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Agate Private School 57 Preschool Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Boarding Day eSchool Homestay Girls 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.

On this page, 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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