Frequently Asked Questions
WHY CHOOSE A PRIVATE HOME DAYCARE?
There are numerous benefits that include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Small group size. Home daycares that are following the legal guidelines set out by The Child Care and Early Years Act (Bill 10) accept a maximum of five children, allowing them to develop close relationships with each other and with their caregivers
- Holiday times are laid out in advance, allowing you to plan your year and there is no risk of home daycare providers suddenly going on strike
- No need to change from the toddler to pre-school room and have to adapt to new caregivers. A home daycare really becomes a 'home away from home' for your child, where he or she will be comfortable and loved by the same people, in the same space, for the duration of his or her daycare experience, with programming for your child growing with them. It's truly amazing how our children grow into different social roles at daycare. From baby to pre-schooler; from follower to leader.
HOW CAN I KEEP TRACK OF MY CHILD WHILE HE/SHE IS AT DAYCARE? CAN I VISIT?
Of course you can visit! Just call in advance so we can make sure we're home when you arrive (or tell you where we'll be so you can meet us there) and please plan on taking your child home at the conclusion of your visit so the child doesn't have to say 'goodbye' to mom or dad twice in one day!
SAFE AND SOUND keeps a private blog, accessible only by parents. This blog is updated regularly with dozens of photos of your child's weeks at daycare. We also provide written daily reports about your child's day at daycare which we discuss with you at pick-up time. Finally, we keep a cell phone on us at all times and are happy to receive phone calls from parents. If we don't answer it's because we're too busy having fun with the kids and we'll call you back.
WHAT MAKES SAFE AND SOUND DIFFERENT FROM OTHER HOME DAYCARES?
SAFE AND SOUND prides itself on being a unique daycare and playschool experience. Here are some of the things that make us special:
* We have an extremely high caregiver to child ratio. With two caregivers for five children we are able to ensure that each child receives the attention and loving care that we believe is vital for the healthy development of young children.
* We have a certified teacher on staff! Karyn spent most of her career in the classroom teaching junior and senior kindergarten and has an innate ability to incorporate efortless learning into every activity. We also have a Registered Holistic Nutritionist on staff, helping us to provide exceptional foods at every meal and snack (and teaching the kids about their food, too!)
* While we pride ourselves on offering a warm, home-like environment, we also pride ourselves on offering a full daily program with activities as diverse as yoga and sculpting, nature walks and cooking.
* At least once a month (more in the nice weather) we will take field trips, which are included in the cost of daycare. We will do everything from visiting Riverdale Farm to a full-day adventure in High Park or exposure to live theatre at Solar Stage Children's Theatre....to anywhere else the TTC can take us. We will travel by TTC and may invite parents to join in on the fun!
* With two of us running the program plus our developed supply list in place, the chances of an unplanned daycare closure are slim to none, which isn't the case with many other home daycares.
WHAT IF ONE OF YOU IS TOO SICK TO LOOK AFTER THE CHILDREN?
We have developed a supply list of trusted, police-checked and interviewed Early Childhood Educators (ECEs) or ECE students to call upon in case of an emergency. Parents are introduced to members of the supply list via e-mail with a short biography prior to the person joining the group. On the off chance that a replacement staff member is not a possibility, we will run the day as usual with a one to five ratio (which is the legal ratio requirement for home daycares) and will alter the day's program as needed to ensure safety and fun for the children.
ARE YOU LICENSED?
No. According to the Day Nurseries Act, "In Ontario, caregivers who look after five or fewer unrelated children under the age of 10 do not have to be licensed" (source). We have chosen not to become licensed through an agency (such as Wee Watch) as we feel that our transparency with parent visits, daily reporting on children's well-being, community involvement and our training and backgrounds working with children provides the same security for parents as operating through a home care agency might. We want the money that you pay to send your child to daycare to go into the program he or she is attending, not into agency fees.
We recognize that there has been discussion of home daycares in general in the media lately. If you have any questions about home daycare in general, we encourage you to get in touch. We are happy to answer your questions and direct you to the Day Nurseries Act where you can learn more.
WHERE DO THE CHILDREN SLEEP?
Depending on the age and need of each child, the following sleeping arrangements are available: a cot or porta-crib in the daycare space, a crib, porta-crib or cot in the upstairs bedroom. Caregivers remain on the main floor of the house, within earshot, while the children sleep.
HOW DO YOU CELEBRATE HOLIDAYS AND BIRTHDAYS?
We love to celebrate and we love diversity. We hold a holiday party in late-December where we acknowledge all of the holidays celebrated by the children at daycare, as well as learning about other holidays that fall around that time of year. For birthdays we hold a full-on birthday party for each child on the afternoon of his or her birthday (or the closest day that works for the birthday child's family), complete with decorations, a cake made and decorated by the kids, and special birthday activities. Parents are invited to attend parties and will be given advance notice of such occasions.
CAN MY CHILD ATTEND PART-TIME?
Maybe. Full-time children get priority. Depending on the dynamics of the current group, there may be a possibility of two children spot-sharing and splitting the week. This has worked out well in the past for some of our children. We do not, however, offer school drop-off/pick-up care.
I AM PREGNANT BUT IT'S STILL EARLY DAYS. WHEN SHOULD I JOIN YOUR WAITING LIST?
Yesterday!! Just kidding, but many parents don't realize just how many babies are being born in Leslieville and surrounding neighbourhoods each month. We've discovered that there are tons of 'em and the majority of them will require daycare. We have welcomed chldren into our program whose parents joined our list as early as their first trimester. If you are hoping to have your child in a home daycare environment, we strongly suggest getting on as many home daycare lists as you can as early as you can. There is a serious shortage of high quality home care in the neighbourhood, given how many local parents realize the value of the home daycare environment and what the intimate atmosphere and low child to caregiver ratio can offer their family. That being said, we tend to have more families on the list for spots beginning when their child is 12-months-old than we can posibly accommodate. For that reason, if you have an older child (age 16 months plus) and are thinking of starting your toddler in daycare, contact us and we'll talk about getting you on the waiting list.
MY FRIEND TOLD ME THAT YOU DON'T GIVE TOURS TO PROSPECTIVE FAMILIES. WHAT IS UP WITH THAT?
After our first year of operation, we realized that offering one-to-one tours to all prospective families was not practical. Daytime tours disrupted the children's schedule and, since daycare is held in a dedicated space in a private home for 10-hours per day, evening tours were not feasible on a regular basis either. Instead, we have moved to a seasonal Open House model. Families that join our waiting list between November and April are invited to our Spring Open House, and familes that join the list between May and October are invited to our Fall Open House. At our Open Houses, you will have a self-guided tour through the space and then we will break into two groups and each group will participate in a Q&A session where all your nitty gritty questions will be answered by Karyn or Jessica.
DO YOU HAVE REFERENCES?
Sure! The many happy families whose children are currently in our care or have been in our care in the past have a lot to say about our program. Please check out our Testimonials page for some of their thoughts.
More Questions? Contact Us, but be sure to check out the rest of the pages in the website first!