Licensed childcare for a preschooler

The last government under Kathleen Wynne had promised free childcare for preschoolers (2.5-Kindergarten) beginning 2020, so I didn’t pay much attention to it. What I didn’t know was that the government also gave extra funding to daycare centres, so that parents end up saving a few dollars a day! So lesson is, do your research when comparing home daycare and daycare centres. I’m sad that they didn’t extend it to licensed home childcare providers, since the region keeps trying to recruit people to either open up a licensed home daycare or send their children into licensed home daycare.

When we were looking for child care late last year, we signed up for the region’s “OneList” – which is essentially a one-stop shop for licensed childcare options. At the time, I had place my child’s name into home child-care providers in addition to a waitlist of daycare centres close by. Well, 6 months later, a few spots opened up in the daycare centres and initially, it seemed like the cost was between $10-15 more a day to have a child in a daycare centre. When we visited one, I felt like it was pretty chaotic (and overwhelming), with 1 adult to 8 kids in a pretty tight space. I had pretty much written off that option until a recent visit to another daycare centre changed my mind because:

  1. Even though they both belonged to the same organization, the space felt so much more open, with a big room and high ceilings and a shaded outdoor natural area for play. And, because this daycare centre isn’t attached to a school, you don’t get school aged kids going, which makes it seem less crazy, maybe?
  2. This daycare centre doesn’t bill for stat holidays, Christmas week, and you get an additional two weeks unbilled. Home daycares bill year round, unless the caregiver cannot provide care for that day.
  3. With the bonus unbilled days and the extra funding from the government that brought daycare costs down by a couple of dollars a day, it seems like it’s cheaper to send my child to one day of daycare than to keep him in home childcare full-time! (numbers below are approximate)
Daycare centre / Yr Home childcare / Yr Total / Yr Diff
5 daycare, 0 home $11,328 $0 $11,328 $1,008
4 daycare, 1 home $8,976 $2,000 $10,976 $656
3 daycare, 2 home $6,672 $4,080 $10,752 $432
2 daycare, 3 home $4,361 $6,160 $10,521 $201
1 daycare, 4 home $2,016 $8,240 $10,256 -$64
0 daycare, 5 home $0 $10,320 $10,320 $0
Daily rates for 2018 Preschooler rate Weeks billed
Home $40 52
Daycare $48 49
Stat holidays on M Sep 2018-Sep2019 7
Stat holidays other days 2

While the cost differential isn’t very significant per year for us (though every dollar might count for a family with a tighter budget), we made the switch part-time as we felt our child might benefit from going to a more “school-like” program (closer to the kindergarten learning model) since he’ll be going to school (far too) soon. However, I’m not ready to give up the PCRC and our caregiver yet, so hopefully this will work out.

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