Quality child care programs make children feel safe, supported and cared for. They support children's learning and development by building relationships with families and educators and providing an engaging and caring environment that helps children develop and grow.

Use these questions to guide your search for quality child care that suits you and your child's needs.

Costs and availability

  1. Do you have space for my child? If not, is there a waiting list and how long is it?
  2. Are you enrolled in the Canada-wide Early Learning and Child Care (CWELCC) system?
  3. How much does it cost? Are there additional fees? Ask providers to explain extra costs, for example, if there are extra costs for holidays, sick days, late pick-up or application fees.
  4. Are there subsidized spots available at this centre?
  5. Do you offer full-time and part-time enrolment?
  6. How flexible are pick-up and drop-off times?
  7. How do staff and child care providers communicate with parents and when can parents visit?

Health and safety

  1. Are you licensed or unlicensed?
  2. How many children do you care for?
  3. How do you ensure the health of children? For example, what are your cleaning practices?
  4. What happens when a child is sick? For example, do you ask parents or guardians to pick them up or give them medications?
  5. What safety measures are in place? Ask about fire extinguishers, smoke or carbon monoxide detectors, first aid kits, safety gates and plugs.
  6. What is your emergency evacuation plan?
  7. Do I have to drop my child off at a specific time? What do you do if a child is absent from the program and you were expecting them to come that day?
  8. Who can pick up my child from your program? How do you make sure children are dismissed safely to their parents or other guardians?

Food and nutrition

  1. What kinds of snacks and meals do you provide?
  2. Is food prepared on-site or catered in?
  3. Are certain foods not allowed on-site? For example, do you allow nuts or other allergens?
  4. Can you accommodate our family's dietary needs?
  5. Can my child bring food from home?
  6. Is a fridge available for breast milk and is there a schedule for feeding?

Learning and play

  1. What will my child do throughout the day?
  2. How do play materials support learning, creativity and social interaction?
  3. How do you encourage both indoor and outdoor play? How much time is spent outside?
  4. How are different cultural traditions integrated into the program?
  5. How are family members involved in the program?
  6. What happens if a child is angry or upset?
  7. How do you communicate with parents about their child’s learning and development?

Look for:

  • An environment that supports children's learning through play and exploration.
  • Family involvement that is welcomed and encouraged.

Staff qualifications

  1. What qualifications or training do staff and providers have? For example, are staff Registered Early Childhood Educators? Are staff trained to support children with special needs?
  2. How many people on-site have first aid certification including infant or child CPR?
  3. What happens when the staff or provider is sick or away?

Look for: Staff or a provider that has qualifications or training related to working with children.

List of questions in many languages