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Queen's University
 

Introduction

Queen's child care policy states the following:

“Queen's University promotes shared responsibility of child care among parents, government and the University. As part of its commitment, Queen's views as important the availability and accessibility of high quality child care for the children of University students, faculty, and staff. Because the needs of the Queen's community are diverse, the University's role will be primarily one of facilitator, assisting students and employees to obtain suitable child care, rather than through the direct provision of services.”

Queen's recognizes that child care is a particularly critical issue in the lives of many students as they balance parenting responsibilities with academic commitments, as well as in the lives of faculty and staff as they coordinate work and family responsibilities. This information guide is intended to assist student, faculty, and staff parents in their search for child care in the Kingston area.

The intent of this guide is to make information about child care accessible; in no way is this booklet judging or assessing the various centres, agencies, and organizations listed within. Omission of any relevant organization should be considered an oversight and not a comment on the quality of services provided by that organization.

The information contained in this guide is current as of July 2010. Fees and policies are subject to change, and should be verified with the individual centres and organizations.

How to Use this Guide

The Introduction section of the guide explains the type of child care providers available in the Kingston area. General features of each of the child care arrangements are discussed, and information regarding licensing and regulation is provided. In addition, charts explain some of the advantages and disadvantages of the different types of child care arrangements. This background information will enable you to determine which type of child care best suits you and your child.

Child care is a large expense for any parent. The Financial Resources section details the programs and tax cuts that a parent may use to help cover child care expenses. The Kingston area subsidy system is described in detail. Even if you don't qualify for a subsidy, there are numerous tax cuts for which almost all parents are eligible.

The next step is to find a child care provider. The Child Care Providers section contains detailed profiles of the different providers in the area. Day care centres, nursery schools, and private home care agencies are all included. The information is accessible in two ways: a map which lays the centres out geographically and a list which displays them alphabetically. If you are just starting out, the map view will be helpful in determining those centres which are within a reasonable distance of your home or work.

All of the profiles include contact information and, in most cases, a contact name. If there is no contact name listed, a request for “the Director” will usually get you to the right person to talk to about setting up an appointment. Once you have narrowed your list down to a few providers, you should start calling centres to arrange a meeting. You may also have to join a waiting list. Child care is always in high demand, particularly for infants. You should get on a waiting list as soon as possible. If more than one provider meets your needs then do not hesitate to join more than one waiting list. If you need subsidized care, make sure the provider is aware.

The local Ontario Early Years Centre (telephone: 613-384-1231) is a good place to start. They can provide you with information on how to judge the quality of care at different facilities. Currently located at the Limestone Advisory for Child Care Programs site, the local office is in transition. For changes in location or contact number, you should review the Ontario Early Years website for updates. Queen's students, staff, and faculty may also be able to find help at the Queen's Daycare Centre (telephone: 613-533-3008).

Finally, the Resources section includes citations for books, links to websites, and contact information for many community organizations. It also includes an alphabetical Child Care Phonebook that lists the phone numbers for all of the organizations that appear throughout the guide.

Wheelchair Accessibility and Special Needs

Many centres are equipped to accommodate children in wheelchairs or those who may require special resources. Before making a decision, however, it is best to investigate on your own. Some centres are both better experienced and better designed for children with disabilities. In particular, what qualifies as wheelchair accessibility may vary somewhat from centre to centre.

Support and funding for special needs are provided to various child care centres. Frontenac Club Daycare Program (telephone: 613-542-4018), has funding from Children's Services (telephone: 613-546-2695 ext. 4825) to support a full-time special resource teacher. Children's Services also provides support through Community Living Kingston (telephone: 613-546-6613). They will send a representative to your child care centre to educate the staff on how to better support your child. In cases of high need, a support worker may join the staff of the child care provider in order to help in the integration of your child.

Severe Food Allergies

Although some centres designate themselves as being free of a particular allergen, almost all will accommodate food allergies providing they have been told that your child has an allergy. If the allergy is particularly difficult to accommodate, you may be asked to provide alternative food. In addition, keep in mind that although staff will endeavour to accommodate the allergy, most centres are unable to guarantee an allergen-free environment.

Types of Child Care

There are several types of child care available in the Kingston area. (See tables at the end of this section for a look at some advantages and disadvantages of each type).

Day Care Centres

Day care centres are facilities which:

  • care for more than five children under the age of ten, for more than one day a week, and for more than eight consecutive weeks at a time
  • may provide care for infants (birth - 18 months), toddlers (18 - 30 months), preschoolers (30 months - 5 years) and kindergarten children (4 - 6 years) (these are the legal age definitions, although some centres may use different classifications)
  • generally look after children for a full day, although half-day care is possible at some locations
  • are closed on statutory holidays (parents usually must pay regular fees on these days)
  • will sometimes provide children with annual vacation time so that parents are able to take their child for a holiday but are not required to pay fees while the child is absent

Nursery Schools

Nursery schools are facilities which:

  • care for more than five preschool children (usually ages 30 months-5 years), on more than one day a week and for more than eight consecutive weeks at a time
  • provide care on a half-day basis; children attend either morning or afternoon sessions 2-5 times per week
  • generally require children to be toilet trained
  • may or may not provide a snack (parents may be required to provide it)
  • follow the public school calendar and are therefore closed over Christmas, March break, the summer months, and on statutory holidays

School-Age Care

Care is provided for children (3.8-12 years) before school (generally from 7:30 AM until school begins) and after school (from the time school ends until 5:30 PM or 6:00 PM). Activities are provided for the children, and a snack is offered in the after school program. Many school-age programs also offer full-day care for children on school holidays (i.e. Christmas break, March break, and P.A. days).

Licensed Home Care

Care is provided for children (from infancy to age twelve) in private homes that are approved and supervised by licensed private home day care agencies. No more than five children (including the caregiver's own) can be cared for at one time in these homes. No more than two of the children may be under two years of age, and no more than three children may be under three years of age.

Home care agencies:

  • recruit and select caregivers who are willing to provide care in their homes
  • follow their own individual screening and selection procedures, since provincial legislation does not require home caregivers to have any training or experience in child development or child care
  • are responsible for training and monitoring home care providers, and are required to visit the homes every three months
  • offer professional development workshops to the caregivers, and provide them with equipment and toys

Informal Care

Child care is provided in a private home through an arrangement between parents and an unlicensed caregiver. No more than five children (excluding the caregiver's own) may be cared for at one time. Informal care can take many forms, including:

  • a neighbour or relative caring for a child
  • a nanny who provides care in a child's home
  • a babysitter who provides evening care

Licensing and Regulation

Day care centres, nursery schools, and centres offering school-age care must be licensed by the Ministry of Children and Youth Services in accordance with the Day Nurseries Act. In order to obtain and maintain a license, these child care facilities must:

  • comply with the standards and regulations outlined in the Act, in such areas as physical environment, health and nutrition, disciplinary measures, ratios of staff to children, and educational qualifications of staff
  • renew licenses annually
  • be inspected by a public health nurse from the Kingston, Frontenac, Lennox & Addington Health Unit several times per year. The nurse also provides centres with guidelines and information on topics such as immunization.
  • be inspected annually by officials from the fire department and the Ministry of Children and Youth Services

More detailed information about licensed day care is available on the Ministry of Children and Youth Services website.

Home child care is regulated through private home day care agencies. These agencies:

  • are licensed by the Ministry of Children and Youth Services
  • are responsible for recruiting and approving home care providers
  • are required to train, monitor, and support the home care providers
  • ensure that the homes meet the standards and regulations outlined by provincial legislation (covering such areas as home safety, nutrition, etc.)

The province does not license informal child care arrangements. As such, the caregivers are not required to comply with any standards or regulations, except to care for no more than five children at any one time. Parents are, therefore, responsible for any regulation, monitoring, or supervision of the caregivers.

Which Type of Child Care is Best For You?

The following charts summarize the general advantages and disadvantages of the different types of child care. They outline some of the issues that should be taken into consideration when searching for child care. Note, however, that depending on one's specific requirements, certain advantages or disadvantages may carry greater importance in one's final decision.

Licensed Child Care Centres (Day Care Centres, Nursery Schools and School-Age Care)

Advantages
Disadvantages
  • caregivers must adhere to provincial standards and regulations

  • the supervisor of the facility and at least one staff member for each group of children must hold a diploma in Early Childhood Education

  • centres have regular hours and parents can depend on care five days a week

  • centres have a wide variety of toys, games, books, and outdoor equipment

  • centres provide structured activities which are designed to stimulate cognitive, motor, and language development

  • centres provide children with the opportunity to develop social skills

  • many centres have subsidized spots

  • most centres operate on a schedule that follows a typical working day, and usually cannot accommodate parents requiring flexible care (i.e. evening or weekend care)

  • there are often long waiting lists, especially for subsidized spots

  • because of the close contact with large numbers of children, those attending child care centres may be exposed to more illnesses

  • centres will not care for mildly ill children

  • parents have to arrange drop-off and pick-up of their child at a consistent time each day

Licensed Home Care

Advantages
Disadvantages
  • centres must adhere to certain minimum standards
  • home caregivers may be able to accommodate flexible schedules
  • child will receive care in a home setting
  • child will have the opportunity to develop social skills
  • care will be more individualized since a maximum of five children can be cared for at one time
  • child will be exposed to fewer illnesses than at a centre
  • subsidies are available for some home care
  • parents can have greater control over their child's activities and meals
  • parents may be able to find suitable arrangements in their own neighbourhood
  • home care agencies provide toys and equipment to the caregivers
  • standards and regulations are generally less stringent than for child care centres
  • caregivers are not required to have any formal training in child care or child development
  • the home may care for children of all different ages, and it may be difficult for the caregiver to divide his/her time evently amongst the children
  • if the caregiver falls ill, has a personal crisis, or moves, parents can be left without child care
  • parents have to arrange drop-off and pick-up of their child at a consistent time each day
  • there can be long waits for subsidized spots

Informal Care in Child's Home

Advantages
Disadvantages
  • child will receive individual attention
  • transportation arrangements are not necessary
  • caregiver may be willing to adapt to flexible schedule
  • cost effective if more than one child requires care, or if shared with another family
  • child will be exposed to fewer illnesses than in a caregiver's home or centre
  • parent will have control over child's activities and meals
  • caregivers may do some light housework
  • some subsidies may be available
  • responsibility for monitoring and regulating care lies with the
    parent(s)
  • a nanny can be relatively expensive if only one child is present in the home
  • toys, books, games, and outdoor equipment may be limited in the parent's home
  • if the caregiver becomes ill, has a personal emergency, or quits, parents will be left without child care
  • child may be socially isolated
  • if the parent is ill and needs to go home to rest, child and caregiver are in the home

Informal Care in Caregiver's Home

Advantages
Disadvantages
  • home caregivers may be able to accommodate flexible schedules
  • child will receive care in a home/family environment
  • child will have the opportunity to develop social skills
  • care will be more individualized because only a small number of children can be cared for at one time
  • child will be exposed to fewer illnesses than at a centre
  • parents can have more control over their child's activities, meals, etc.
  • parents may be able to find suitable arrangements in their own neighbourhood
  • some subsidies may be available
  • caregivers are not required to have any formal training in child care or child development
  • caregivers are not required to meet standards or regulations, and their facilities and quality of care are not monitored or inspected
  • the home may care for children of all different ages, and it may be difficult for the caregiver to divide his/her time evenly amongst the children
  • if the caregiver falls ill, has a personal crisis, or moves, parents will be left without child care
  • parents have to arrange drop-off and pick-up of their child at a consistent time each day

 

Queen's Human Resources
Fleming Hall, Stewart-Pollock Wing
Kingston, Ontario, Canada. K7L 3N6.
T: 613.533.2070 | F: 613.533.6196
hradmin@queensu.ca