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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).

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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List of daycare and childcare centres

 
 
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  School Name Type Cost

The Giles School (est. 1989)  

  • Toronto, Ontario
  • PS to 8 Coed
  • Day school (180 students)
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. [View profile]
  • Liberal Arts
$12,900 to $23,400


Preschool Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools Day Coed 12900

La Citadelle International Academy of Arts & Science (est. 2000)  

  • Toronto, Ontario
  • NS to 12 Coed
  • Day school (180 students)
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. [View profile]
  • Traditional
  • International Baccalaureate
$12,500 to $26,800


Preschool Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Coed 12500

Lycée Français de Toronto (est. 1995)  

  • Toronto, Ontario
  • PS to 12 Coed
  • Day school (550 students)
Lycée Français de Toronto is a French school that offers programs from nursery to grade 12. Its average class size is 17 students. [View profile]
  • Traditional
$17,152 to $19,860


Preschool Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Coed 17152

Olivet School (est. 1893)  

  • Etobicoke, Ontario
  • PS to 5 Coed
  • Day school (45 students)
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. [View profile]
  • Traditional
$4,300 to $10,800

User
reviews (5)

• User reviews (5)
Preschool Kindergarten Elementary Day Coed 4300

Alexander von Humboldt German International School (est. 1980)  

  • Baie-D'Urfé, Montreal, Quebec
  • PS to 12 Coed
  • Day school (300 students)
We offer a sound, internationally recognized academic foundation. Our students gain fluency in three languages and achieve mastery of biology, chemistry and physics. [View profile]
  • Traditional
$7,450 to $10,700


Preschool Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Coed 7450

Banbury Crossroads School (est. 1979)  

  • Calgary, Alberta
  • PS to 12 Coed
  • Day school (90 students)
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. [View profile]
  • Progressive
$8,000 to $10,000


Preschool Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Coed 8000

Kelowna Christian School (est. 1978)  

  • Kelowna, British Columbia
  • PS to 12 Coed
  • Day school (775 students)
Established in 1978, our passion is to provide families with transformative, excellent education that equips and inspires students to be disciples who are world changers that love and serve God and others. [View profile]
  • Progressive
$4,750 to $6,550


Preschool Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Coed 4750

Mulgrave School (est. 1993)  

  • West Vancouver, British Columbia
  • PS to 12 Coed
  • Day school (1000 students)
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. [View profile]
  • Progressive
  • International Baccalaureate
$19,980 to $24,820


Preschool Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Coed 19980

The Oakville Academy for the Arts (est. 2003)  

  • Oakville, Ontario
  • NS to SK Coed
  • Day school
Voted Oakville's Best Preschool, The Oakville Academy School for the Arts offers Preschool and Kindergarten classes in an arts-enriched learning environment. [View profile]
    $4,899 to $14,999


    Preschool Kindergarten Day Coed 4899

    College Bourget   

    • Rigaud, Quebec
    • PS to 11 Coed
    • Day school (1450 students)
    • Boarding school (100 students)
    Collège Bourget is a day & boarding school situated between Montreal & Ottawa, that exceeds Quebec curriculum guidelines & ensures our students grow through different spheres: arts, sports, community service & science. [View profile]
    • Traditional
    $4,700 to $35,000


    Preschool Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Boarding Coed 4700

    EPIC School (est. 1999)  

    • Toronto, Ontario
    • NS to SK Coed
    • Day school (45 students)
    e.p.i.c. is a leading progressive school specializing in early education for students in Pre-K, J.K. and S.K. Discover e.p.i.c. School! [View profile]
      $9,500 to $17,595

      User
      reviews (2)

      • User reviews (2)
      Preschool Kindergarten Day Coed 9500

      St. Mildred's-Lightbourn School (est. 1891)  

      • Oakville, Ontario
      • PS to 12 Girls
      • Day school (550 students)
      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. [View profile]
      • Progressive
      • Reggio Emilia
      $18,000 to $28,430


      Preschool Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Girls 18000

      Fern Hill School - Ottawa (est. 1981)  

      • Ottawa, Ontario
      • PS to 8 Coed
      • Day school (180 students)
      Ottawa’s Fern Hill School offers Preschool, Kindergarten and Elementary Grades, including extended French. Tuition starts at $2,950. [View profile]
      • Traditional
      $3,250 to $14,950


      Preschool Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools Day Coed 3250

      Bayview Glen (est. 1962)  

      • Toronto, Ontario
      • PS to 12 Coed
      • Day school (1050 students)
      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. [View profile]
      • Traditional
      $18,375 to $27,290


      Preschool Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Coed 18375

      Magnificent Minds (est. 2011)  

      • North York, Ontario
      • PS to 8 Coed
      • Day school (30 students)
      Magnificent Minds Inc. caters to learners whose needs are not being met in traditional school environments, pursuing academic excellence, and individual greatness. [View profile]
      • Traditional
      $19,000 to $25,000


      Preschool Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools Day Coed 19000

      Queen Margaret's School (est. 1921)  

      • Duncan, British Columbia
      • PS to 12 Coed
      • Day school (220 students)
      • Boarding school (100 students)
      • Day school (90 students)
      Queen Margaret's School is an independent day/boarding university preparatory school in Duncan, BC. [View profile]
      • Progressive
      $4,800 to $49,300

      User
      reviews (1)

      • User reviews (1)
      Preschool Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Boarding Day Coed 4800

      Kingsley Primary School (est. 1981)  

      • Etobicoke, Ontario
      • PS to 5 Coed
      • Day school
      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. [View profile]
      • Progressive
      • Reggio Emilia
      $12,000

      User
      reviews (2)

      • User reviews (2)
      Preschool Kindergarten Elementary Day Coed 12000

      Calgary French & International School (est. 1969)  

      • Calgary, Alberta
      • PS to 12 Coed
      • Day school (780 students)
      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. [View profile]
      • Progressive
      • International Baccalaureate
      $7,900 to $15,100

      User
      reviews (1)

      • User reviews (1)
      Preschool Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Coed 7900

      The Nature School (est. 2017)  

      • Vaughan, Ontario
      • PS to 3 Coed
      • Day school (50 students)
      • Day school (12 students)
      The Nature School at Kortright provides an alternative form of education designed to provide experiential learning opportunities and promote curiosity to nurture the whole child. [View profile]
      • Progressive
      $1,500 to $12,000


      Preschool Kindergarten Elementary Day Day Coed 1500

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