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Why Choose a Licensed Daycare?

Early Childhood Education

There are several things that come into the minds of parents when they prepare to entrust the care of their precious children to people other than themselves. Questions like “how can I find the best local daycares in my area?” “Do I need to look for a licensed daycare?” often arise, especially when parents don’t know what to look for in a daycare.

This article discussed the types of childcare services in Ontario, listing the licensed daycare benefits, and directing parents to select the best childcare option for their kid.

What Is a Licensed Daycare?


When deciding on who you should hire for your childcare needs, one of the first decisions you must make is determining whether to go with a licensed childcare provider or not. The law in Ontario requires anyone who takes care of more than five unrelated children under ten years of age to be licensed by the Ministry of Education. To be licensed, a childcare provider must meet provincial standards when it comes to health, safety and training. Knowing this often gives parents a sense of ease.

Periodically, the Ministry of Education conducts visits to ensure licensed childcare providers are in compliance with the province’s daycare regulations.

Types of Licensed Daycare Services

Before we discuss the differences between a licensed and an unlicensed daycare, parents should understand the childcare options available to them.

Licensed Home-Based DaycareLicensed Child Care Centres (Daycares)School-Aged Childcare
This is when the caregiver provides childcare services from their home. The ages of children cared for can vary, and you can find childcare for infants, toddlers, pre-school and school-aged children. Many families like home-based daycares because there tend to be fewer children cared for in a home setting than at a child care centre. These daycares are supervised by an agency licensed by Ontario’s Ministry of Education.
These are facilities or centres that provide childcare for children. Their services typically range from infant daycare to preschool, JK/SK daycare, extended daycare and before and after school programs.
This type of childcare is for parents who work outside the home and need care for their children between the ages of 4 and 12 years old. School-aged childcare includes after-school programs and full-day kindergartens. The Ontario School board might offer before-and-after school programs directly, or through third-party providers that offer childcare programs in a school setting.

Licensed Daycare vs. Unlicensed Daycare

Whether you decide to go with a licensed or unlicensed daycare provider is a matter of preference and what is best for your family. Unlicensed childcare is provided by people who you may know but are not regulated by the province. This can be a babysitter or a family member who comes to the home to care for your child. Some parents like this option because it gives them flexibility in the hours.

Why Choose a Licensed Daycare?

The main disadvantage of unlicensed childcare is that the caregiver may not have formal training in caregiving. So the quality of education and attention dedicated to each child may not be up to par. Another drawback to unlicensed daycares is that their caregivers are not regulated by the Ministry of Education, so there isn’t much accountability to how they run their business.

The Benefits of Licensed Daycare

Unlike unlicensed child care facilities, a licensed daycare offers the following:

Why Choose a Licensed Daycare?
  • An annual inspection by a government representative
  • Children are grouped with other children their age
  • Staff members include licensed daycare teachers with training in early childhood education
  • The daycare centre must meet Ontario’s standards of childcare
  • Activities are designed for children at different stages of development
  • A government subsidy for childcare fees may be available

Questions to Ask a Daycare Provider

Asking the right questions can help you decide on the right daycare choice for your child and your family. Here are a few basic daycare questions you should ask a potential daycare provider:

  • Are you licensed?
  • If so, is your program in good standing? Has it ever been investigated by the Ministry of Education?
  • How many children are under your care right now?
  • What ages are the children you provide care for?
  • What are the costs involved?
  • What are your daycare hours?
  • What kind of training and experience do you have?
  • Can you walk me through a typical day in your program?
  • Are there days when you are closed?

Finding out the answers to these questions can help point you in the right direction and choose the best childcare provider for your child.

Why Choose a Licensed Daycare?
  • Calendar icon January 23, 2020
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