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Daycare and childcare

The approach of daycare and childcare centres in Canada

Find a list of schools

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


Ottawa, Ontario — 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. View School Profile.

  • Recognized for academic excellence
  • Welcoming, inclusive and diverse community
  • International Baccalaureate World School (PYP, MYP, DP)
  • Round Square and Apple Distinguished school
  • Merit- and need-based scholarships available
PS to 12 (Girls)
Progressive, International Baccalaureate
$15,540 to $29,700
Avg. Class:
15 to 17
Elmwood School 15540 Preschool Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Girls

Oakville, Ontario — Oakville's SMLS continues to be a premier independent school for girls Preschool to Grade 12 since 1891. "Millie" graduates take on the world with confidence and the knowledge that they can do anything. View School Profile.

  • Signature Programs in Global Studies, STEM & Robotics, Active Healthy Living, Arts & Design
  • Professional Internship Customized for Each Girl (Grade 11)
  • Enriched curriculum, Advanced Placement, DELF
  • Focus on whole girl and student wellbeing
PS to 12 (Girls)
Progressive, Reggio Emilia
$20,000 to $30,160
Avg. Class:
St. Mildred's-Lightbourn School 20000 Preschool Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Girls
  • Hamilton, Ontario
    Garth Street/Fennell Avenue West
  • NS to 12 Coed
  • $8,500 to $52,000

Established in 1901, Hillfield Strathallan College is one of Canada’s leading co-educational independent schools, offering academic programs from Montessori Toddler and Pre-K to Grade 12, in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada.

  • Homestay/Day
  • Traditional
  • Montessori
Hillfield Strathallan College 8500 Preschool Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Homestay Day Coed
  • Etobicoke, Ontario
  • PS to 12 Coed
  • $15,000 to $65,000

New Haven is a leading private school and non-profit centre supporting individuals with ASD and their families year-round. Our focus centres on growing potential and changing the lives of those with ASD to SOAR.

  • Day
  • Progressive
New Haven Learning Centre 15000 Preschool Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Coed
  • Toronto, Ontario
    York Mills Road/Bayview Avenue
  • NS to 8 Coed
  • $23,500 to $40,000

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.

  • Day
  • Progressive
Junior Academy 23500 Preschool Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools Day Coed
  • 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
  • West Vancouver, British Columbia
    Upper Levels Highway/Cypress Bowl exit
  • PS to 12 Coed
  • $20,000 to $25,000

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

  • Day
  • Progressive
  • International Baccalaureate
Mulgrave School 20000 Preschool Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Coed
  • Toronto, Ontario
  • PS to 12 Coed
  • $18,300 to $20,900

By proposing the learning excellence of the French Ministry of Education strongly anchored in Toronto life and Canadian culture, our school offers students the best of both cultures.

  • Day
  • Traditional
Lycée Français de Toronto 18300 Preschool Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Coed
  • Rigaud, Quebec
    Rue Saint-Pierre/Rue Bourget
  • PS to 12 Coed
  • $4,700 to $35,000

Collège Bourget is a day & boarding school situated between Montreal & Ottawa. The school offers Quebec's french program from Grade 7 till Grade 11 and english program from Grade 10 till Grade 12.

  • Boarding/Day
  • Traditional
College Bourget 4700 Preschool Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Boarding Day Coed
  • St Catharines, Ontario
    Ontario St./Welland Ave.
  • NS to 12 Coed/Girls
  • $350 to $5,200

Heuristic & autodidactic, inspired by Sudbury & democratic models. Students are self-directed, holistically empowered. Voluntary attendance, year-round calendar, agency, & consent inspire free learning.

  • Homestay/Day/eSchool/Boarding
  • Progressive
Agate Private School 350 Preschool Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Homestay Day eSchool eSchool Boarding Coed Girls
  • Duncan, British Columbia
    Brownsey Avenue/Government Street
  • PS to 12 Coed
  • $5,450 to $52,330

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.

  • Boarding/Day
  • Progressive
Queen Margaret's School 5450 Preschool Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Boarding Day Coed
  • Toronto, Ontario
    Don Mill Rd/York Mills Rd
  • PS to 12 Coed
  • $19,050 to $28,300

Bayview Glen is co-ed, multi-denominational and diverse. Our student, faculty and staff community mirror the diversity of our city. We have a culture of balance and openness that includes valuing different perspectives.

  • Day
  • Traditional
Bayview Glen 19050 Preschool Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools 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 Core & Advanced French. Tuition starts at $3,250.

  • Day
  • Traditional
Fern Hill School - Ottawa 3250 Preschool Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools Day Coed
  • Baie-D'Urfé, Montreal, Quebec
    rue Victoria/rue Normandy
  • PS to 12 Coed
  • $8,000 to $12,275

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.

  • Day
  • Traditional
  • International Baccalaureate
Alexander von Humboldt German International School 8000 Preschool Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Coed
  • Etobicoke, Ontario
  • PS to 5 Coed
  • $6,600 to $12,000

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.

  • Day
  • Traditional
  • Reggio Emilia
Kingsley Primary School 6600 Preschool Kindergarten Elementary Day Coed
  • Calgary, Alberta
    Crowchild Trail/Flanders Ave
  • PS to 12 Coed
  • $9,000 to $10,000

At Banbury, we teach and mentor each child individually. Students are happy and engaged in learning. We believe in small class sizes with multi-aged groups. 98% of our grads continue with post-secondary education.

  • Day
  • Progressive
Banbury Crossroads School 9000 Preschool Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Coed


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 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


  • 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.


  • 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


In the spotlight:

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    The York School is not specifically a Montessori school. But Maria Montessori would have loved it, nonetheless: the school is animated by a passionate focus on making learning hands-on, social and engaging. [Read more]

  • Association Montessori Internationale Schools

    In Canada, participation in AMI (Canada’s) MQA program ensures that a school is committed to the principles of Montessori pedagogy while aligning with current child development research (through the AMI Scientific Pedagogy Group). [Read more]

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