Spring is nature’s time for renewal and rejuvenation. It can also be a time of changing needs for busy families – and this may include the need to arrange early learning and care for children.
If you’re looking for guidance, one place to begin your enquiries is with your local primary school. Some offer early learning and care on-site, either delivering programs directly or through a partnership with a non-profit child care operator located within the school. In addition to a convenient location, here are some other factors to consider when searching out care for your child:
- How long has the centre or program been operating and what is the experience level of the staff?
- Is there a registered early childhood educator (RECE) on site? Parents can visit a public register online at www.college-ece.ca/publicregister to verify the registration status of an RECE.
- What does the learning program include?
- How will information about your child’s development be shared with you?
- What safety procedures are in place?
- Remember that visiting a child care centre in person to make sure the environment is safe and up to expectations, can aid your decision.
While many parents may agree that researching a centre and staff is important, this agreement does not always translate into action. In fact, a survey of Ontario parents conducted on behalf of the College of Early Childhood Educators (CECE) shows that only one in 10 have ever researched the professional status of their child’s educator.
“It’s only in recent years that parents have the comfort of knowing that the person looking after their young child is a registered professional who is held accountable for their actions – and this is currently the case only in Ontario,” says Melanie Dixon, director of professional practice at the CECE. “The college exists to ensure that all registered early childhood educators meet qualifications and will practise under ethical and professional standards. It also ensures that parents have easy access to their professional status.”
Parents may also wish to visit www.ontario.ca/childcare for more information on things to consider when looking for child care.