Making a Quality Child Care Choice

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Finding and keeping quality child care can be challenging. Where do you start?

What is quality child care?

✓ Child care should support a child’s emotional, social, intellectual and physical well-being. Quality child care is not babysitting.
✓ Child care providers are key to quality child care. They should…

  • understand how children grow and learn
  • be affectionate and responsive, open and informative
  • provide a stable and stimulating environment
  • seek out community resources and support
  • be willing to develop common goals

Child care should support a child’s emotional, social, intellectual and physical well-being. Quality child care is not babysitting

✓ Quality child care settings have common characteristics…

  • clean, safe and secure
  • a caring, learning environment
  • a small number of children with each adult
  • space for quiet and active times, indoor and outdoor play
  • a balance of interesting activities
  • flexible, yet predictable daily routine
  • a variety of easily available toys and equipment
  • nutritional meals and snacks

How do you find quality care?

✓ First, identify your needs and priorities

  • Consider your child’s age.
  • Do you have more than one child requiring care?
  • Are you eligible for a government subsidy?
  • What fee can you afford?
  • Do you prefer centre or home based, regulated or unregulated care?
  • What hours?
  • In what location — near your child’s school, your home, your work?

✓ Provincial and local child care offices can offer guidance. Community information services can be invaluable. It is also helpful to talk to neighbours and friends who use child care. Just give yourself plenty of time and find care that suits you and your child.

✓ Once you have a list of providers and child care centres, it is time to start telephone interviews. Jot down the questions you want to ask.

✓ Visiting potential centres and family child care settings is the next step.

  • Look around.
  • Is this a quality child care setting?
  • Listen.
  • Would you feel good about your child spending time here?

✓ The relationship between you and the provider is extremely important.

  • It should be one of mutual respect, trust and cooperation.
  • The interview is the time to ask plenty of questions.
  • Don’t forget to discuss hours, fees, discipline, sickness, vacations, the involvement of parents.

✓ Check references before you make a final decision. And write a contract or letter of agreement — it can save unnecessary misunderstandings in the future.

Being an effective child care parent

✓ A parent’s responsibility does not end with finding child care.

  • The three-way relationship between the parent, provider and child requires an ongoing commitment. Communication is vital. Take the time to hear about your child’s day.
  • Agree on mutual expectations.
  • Voice concerns Express appreciation.
  • Live up to the agreement.

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Early Childhood Educators (ECEs) are incredible professionals that have rewarding, important and demanding careers. They work with young children (and their families), ages 0-12, nurturing and educating them, observing and planning for their growth and development while ensuring that they are healthy. They create interactive and dynamic learning environments where children develop social skills, develop cognitive skills and foster lifelong learning. ECEs work in child care centres, classrooms, home child cares, preschool, and parent drop-in programs. You do not need a teaching degree to be an ECE, but you do need your ECE diploma.

If you’re just starting out:

  1. Get certified!
  2. Find the requirements for your province or territory
  3. Write your resume and begin your job search. We’ll provide tips on this soon. 
  4. Get your vulnerable sector check and first aid training

Join our Facebook Group and meet other ECEs who may be able to answer your questions

All licensed and regulated quality child care programs in Canada require these for the safety and security of children and families.

On our provincial and territorial map we link to child care associations in your area. Follow the link to your association and join today. The associations provide valuable information to anyone starting out in their career. Even experienced ECEs can benefit. You’ll also enjoy valuable member benefits like discounts, meet other ECEs, and become a part of the child care movement in Canada.


If you join your provincial or territorial affiliate, you’re automatically also a member of the CCCF.

With your resume and cover letter ready (we’ll provide guides for this soon), contact child care centres and introduce yourself! You can call, email, or even message them on social media. Don’t be discouraged if you don’t get a reply. Try again a few days later to give them your resume in person. Remember that due to safety reasons you need to call first. Tell them you live in their area, and that you’re looking for a position.

Anyone working in licensed child care has to apply for certification. You will find certification information for your province or territory on our child care certification page.