Understanding Early Childhood Placement Options

There are a multitude of child-care program choices for parents to select from and sometimes understanding the differences can be overwhelming. Depending on your daily schedule you may be able to attend more than one community program. Families should select settings with assistance from professionals according to the specific needs of their child and their needs.

The following are general descriptions of centre based programs;

  1. Drop-In Programs: Drop-in programs may be offered in the morning, afternoon or both. The program offers a number of activities such as arts and crafts, games, circle or music time and usually a snack. The parent is expected to remain at the program with their child for the duration of the program. The drop-in may be offered 2-5 days per week offering a two-two and half-hour program. There are no fees associated with these programs. The main philosophy of the program is for parents and caregivers in the community to meet one another and develop social networks and to provide a safe and nurturing environment for children to play and develop skills.
  2. Nursery Programs: Nursery programs may be offered in the morning or afternoon, most nursery programs operate in the morning. Nursery programs tend to follow a ten or eleven month schedule each year, closing for one or two months during the summer. The programs may be offered for 2-5 days per week, usually offering a three-hour program. There are fees associated with the program and can range from $100.00 to $325.00 per month depending on the program (subsidies available). The parent is not expected to remain with the child. The program will provide a range of activities such as arts and crafts, sensory, free play, gross motor and group games such as music.
  3. Day Care Centres: Day care environments provide a program for a full day, usually offering at least 9 hours of care. Day cares are open all year; some may close for a set two week period during the summer for vacation. There is a fee for the program and this can vary from day to day care however the norm is usually around $650.00 per month for a pre-school age child (subsidies available). The fees increase and decrease depending on the age of the child (care for infants is the most expensive). Many day cares offer before and after school care for children as well. Centre based programming for children will emphasize enhancement of skills in all areas of development and preparing children for school environments.

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