Choosing a childcare facility

Many people are confused when it comes to understanding the different types of childcares. This article will help you clarify everything.

Ten years ago, Quebec’s Ministère de la Famille et des Aînés (MFA) created a family policy to help children ages 0 to 5 years old get a place in a daycare. The goal was commendable: allow every child to get a government subsidized place in a safe and educational daycare.

A decade later, daycares have not developed and evolved much but the demand for a place in daycare has considerably increased. This resulted in parents having to wait for moths before finding a daycare that is not only able to receive their child, but also fits with their values and needs.  

Different types of childcare services
Early Childhood Centers

Early childhood centers (ECC) are not-for-profit organizations or cooperatives whose 2/3 of the board is made up of parents whose children attend the daycare. These facilities can welcome a maximum of 80 children for a daily rate of $7.

Daycare Centers

Daycare centers are generally businesses that can welcome a maximum of 80 children. They need to have an advisory committee made of at least 5 parents whose children attend the daycare. Most centers have signed an agreement with the MFA and offer subsidized places ($7/day). Other daycares can set their prices as they please.

Home Daycare Centers

Home daycares are services offered by individuals in their private residence. If a person is not known by a coordinating office, he/she cannot welcome more than 6 children. Otherwise, an individual responsible for a home daycare service can offer educative services to a maximum of 6 children, or 9 children if  this person is assisted by another adult. Many home daycare centers have signed an agreement with the MFA and offer subsidized places ($7/day)

Source : Ministère de la Famille et des Aînés

The pros and cons of each type of childcare service

A dozen mothers, some working in daycare centers, made a list of pros and cons for each type of childcare. Here are the pros and cons that came up the most:

Early Childhood Centers
  • The daycare educators are trained and supervized by an administrative manager.
  • The centers must follow certain standards (hygiene, safety).
  • The room layout is adapted to children.
  • Materials and various games are often renewed. 
  • Outings and special activities are more frequent.
  • Opening hours are longer and services are always assured by substitutes if needed.
  • Children are grouped by age.
  • Easy access to resources (colleagues, educational consultants, CLSC).
  • Government benefits for children requiring special care.
  • Staff is always changing (pause, lunch, holidays, vacations, etc.)
  • The child has a new educator every year.
  • The child isn’t in the same group as his brothers or sisters.
  • A “cold” environment (similar to school), compared to a warm and inviting home environment.
  • Daily routines are less flexible: snack, lunch, nap.
  • Obligation to attend. Not flexible to individual family needs.
  • Places become available in September, for back to school (hard to get the child in when you need it).

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