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Choosing Child Care

Licensed or Unlicensed?

All commercial and larger daycare centres required to be licensed.  When it comes to smaller home childcare setups, most home daycares are not licensed and some of them are “approved” by daycare agencies for the purposes of receiving subsidized child placements.

Daycares and child care providers vary greatly.  Just because a facility is licensed it does not reflect the quality of care that it provides to your child.  In fact many licensed facilities in Nova Scotia have had thousands of violations and the top violation being, “not completing child abuse registry check for workers!”

Under the Nova Scotia Day Care Act, childcare provided in a home is not required to be licensed. Home daycares are in fact exempt from the Day Care Act which states:

Day Care Act CHAPTER 120 OF THE REVISED STATUTES, 1989
Definitions for Act and regulations
2 In this Act,
(a) “day care” means the providing of services pertinent to a child’s physical, social, emotional and intellectual development apart from the child’s parents or guardian but does not include
(i) organized recreational or religious activities, or 
(ii) services exempted by the regulations;
“family day care home” means a home in which a family home day care program is provided;
“family home day care program” means a day care program that is provided by a care provider in the care provider’s home;
Exempted services
3     (1)    For the purpose of the exemption from the definition of “day care” in subclause 2(a)(i) of the Act, “organized recreational activities” means recreational programs offered by recognized community providers.
       (2)    For the purposes of subclause 2(a)(ii) of the Act, the following services are exempted from the definition of “day care” and do not require a license:
                (a)    care for 6 or fewer children of any age on a regular basis, including any children of the person providing the care;
                (b)    care for 8 or fewer school-age children on a regular basis, including any children of the person providing the care;
                (c)    casual and irregular babysitting arrangements for care and supervision provided to a child
                         (i)     in the child’s home,
                         (ii)    in the home of the person providing the care and supervision, or
                             (iii)   when the parents are on the premises and readily available;


Essentially, facilities and childcare providers that wish to provide childcare for large numbers of children are required to be licensed.

What is a Home Daycare?

Home daycare, also known as family daycare, is exactly what it sounds like – a daycare in a home instead of a daycare centre. This arrangement has been around as long as parents have had neighbours and friends nearby to help care for their kids.

Home daycares can offer a more personal childcare service in a comfortable setting rather than a larger facility or centre where the number of children is much greater.

Are all daycares licensed?

No. Only larger daycare centres are regulated and require licensing under the Daycare Regulations Act of Nova Scotia. Family home daycares’ do not require licensing.

What is an “approved” home daycare?

The Department of Community Services does not regulate home daycare providers unless the home daycare applies to be an “approved” home daycare. An approved home daycare is one that has applied to the provincial (FHDC) Family Home Day Care program in order to receive funding and child placements for subsidized payments. These daycares often choose to be an approved home daycare in order to quickly fill the spots in their daycare with subsidized child placements. They also receive assistance from the larger daycare agency they fall under.

Subsidies are paid directly to the centre, agency or home daycare by the NS Dept. of Education & Early Childhood Development, on behalf of eligible parents and programs may surcharge subsidized parents if costs are above the maximum subsidy rate.

Eligibility for subsidy is based on (1) family’s income, (2) finances, and (3) social need and must eligible in all three areas to qualify. Fee subsidies are paid directly to service providers.

Cost of Childcare

According to the Care.com 2017 Babysitter Survey, the average babysitting rate in 2016 was $13.97USD / $17.46CAD per hour — which is up 26 percent from $11.11USD / $13.89CAD per hour in 2010. Babysitting rates vary from city to city and depend on a number of different factors, which include the cost of living of any given area.

When it comes to “babysitting” you can utilize your typical teenager babysitter for lower than minimum wage but as the saying goes, you get what you pay for.

It’s important to compensate childcare providers fairly based on their experience and what skills they bring to the table. The lower the rate…the less the qualification. There are lots of things in life you can go cheap on and care for your children should not be one of those things!

When it comes to daycares and childcare in homes, most providers work 9 to 10 hours a day with the children in their homes but additionally, another 2 or so each day, cleaning, disinfecting, prepping meals, and preparing all the things needed to occupy numerous children that cannot be done when the little ones are present. You know yourself how messy your child can be, consider that multifold. You expect (as you should) a clean floor, a clean washroom for your child to use and a clean environment with disinfected toys. There is a lot of effort and time consumed in providing childcare to be compensated for.

Childcare fees are a big expense on any family, however the daily rate charged is not pure income. Like any business, we have business expenses such as home childcare insurance, police checks, food for the children, milk, increased water bills for the constantly flushing toilet, increased power/heating bills because these homes are heated all day, increased laundry for the sheets and facecloths used, craft supplies, equipment and toys that your child uses.

“I’m looking to pay only $5/hr” or “I’m looking to pay only $20/day”

Expecting to be frugal with childcare payments is not reasonable for the time, effort and expense required for the care of your child. These types of requests are asking providers to work at a slaves wage and it is simply unjust for the level of care you demand for your child.

The childcare rates in Halifax are on the lower end compared to costs in other major metropolitan areas of Canada.

The AVERAGE monthly cost for childcare in cities across Canada:

Source

Children in high- quality early childhood programs are more likely to be emotionally secure and self-confident, proficient in language use, able to regulate impulsive and aggressive inclinations, and advanced in cognitive development.

Quality Child Care is What Matters

“The quality of child care is important because it is closely linked with children’s social, cognitive, and language development.  Children in high- quality early childhood programs are more likely to be emotionally secure and self-confident, proficient in language use, able to regulate impulsive and aggressive inclinations, and advanced in cognitive development.  Over time, these children may experience enhanced school achievement, higher earnings, and decreased involvement with the criminal justice system.  In contrast, children who experience poor-quality child care are at risk for poor long-term developmental outcomes, including apathy, poor school skills, and heightened aggression.” Source: Child Care Cost and Quality

Important Factors to Consider

The environment

  • How much space do the children have?
  • Is there an outside area to play in?
  • How safe is the environment?
  • Is the place secure?
  • How clean and organized is the facility?
  • If it is a home daycare, is the play area separate from the home living/dinning area or next to the kitchen? – this is a safety concern.
  • Is the daycare set up to provide adequate space and resources for the children or is it just a regular home with some toys in a small room?
  • Is the play area up or downstairs – are the stairs safe, is there bannister and/or child gate?
  • Children require regular naps, but in a chaotic environment children will not sleep well.  A structured environment with routine, safety and peace a child will nap very easily.

Activities

  • Are there sufficient things for the children to do?
  • Does the provider engage the children in play or education?

Training

  • What qualifications and certifications does the provider have?

Safety

  • What security and safety measures are in place?
  • Does the provider have adequate information on your child in case of an emergency?
  • Do they have policies in place?

The Provider

  • What is their experience with children?
  • What is their maturity level?
  • How do they interact with your child or the other children?

What are Ayeshah’s Qualifications?

Just like regular daycare facilities, we follow all the necessary child care regulations such as being regularly screened through the Child Abuse Register, all adults in the home have completed a Criminal Record Check by the local Halifax police, and Ayeshah has completed a First aid course including infant CPR.

Ayeshah’s Childcare Services – I have been an elementary school teacher for 10+ years and teaching has been my first love. I also have a Masters degree in Business Administration.

I have a very comforting and enjoyable space and atmosphere for the children, with a set up that has a huge playroom and a separate nap room. There are sanitary cots to sleep on. We have a secure home, the childcare area and outside exits are all covered by video cameras.  For security and safety, children can be monitored at all times. There is a large fenced backyard with a large area and play gym to play on suitable for all ages.

I pride myself on offering a comfortable structured environment and the children quickly fall into the regular routines.   Often parents say “I can’t get my child to nap at all” and yet all the children at my place are eager for their nap and fall asleep with ease.  Children who have had separation anxiety issues after a while are happy to be left at my place.  I provide an enjoyably relaxed peaceful place where routines, social skills and manners are taught and the children are happy to follow.

An interview is always conducted with the parents and child to ensure that they are a proper fit. We are very selective on who we take in as we want all the children to get along and be happy with each other.  All children are required to be registered – this information is stored safely and securely online and is accessible at anytime should there be a need.

Children who attend here are thrilled with the ample space, variety of toys and large backyard with the play equipment and find it hard to leave the place.

When choosing a place for your child.  You owe it to your child to compare your options and I welcome anyone to view my setup and compare it to other home daycares and daycare centres.

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