Making the decision to put your child into childcare is a big one, but the toughest part may be in choosing between a regulated and approved day home versus a daycare. Both regulated options offer safety through established ratios of children to caregivers, based on age.
When you’re choosing your childcare educator, there are four major areas to consider: the type of environment, social interaction, programming/education, and what kinds of amenities such as extra diapers/wipes, meals and snacks, etc. will be provided.
You’ll want to make sure you ask your potential caregiver lots of questions! For instance, not all “day homes” are created equal! Many Red Deer dayhomes are actually neighbourhood babysitters that are not monitored, have no minimum standard to follow and often don’t have the educational background to help children develop to their full potential. Be sure to carefully interview any potential caregiver with your child present, request a tour, and read on to learn the main differences between an approved, regulated day home and a daycare.
The clue is in the name, an approved day home is run in someone’s home! Day homes are wonderful spaces that will most likely feel comfortable and safe for your child. Regulated day homes, which contract through day home agencies, are monitored regularly by their agency, and meet strict government, and in most cases in Alberta, accreditation standards. You can be assured that all safety requirements are met, and ongoing planning will ensure your child is participating in age-appropriate activities that are varied, interesting and stimulating!
There will likely be a wide age range among the children, so your child will have lots of interaction with a variety of ages. Your approved day home provider will participate in regular training and educational workshops, to equip them in helping your child develop in a rich social environment.
Each approved day home is monitored to specific standards, and expected program delivery. All approved and contracted day home educators participate in regular training through their agency, and are mentored by their agency staff during regular, unannounced home visits. Many approved day home providers have formal education in Early Learning and Child Care or other related fields. Aspects such as proper nutrition, brain development, physical and social development, and emotional regulation are some of many topics offered through their agencies.
All approved day homes are required to offer nutritional snacks and meals, based on the hours the child is in care. Every approved day home is regulated on sleeping accommodation, nutrition, space, Health Canada-approved equipment, and much more. Be sure to ask about specifics when you meet with your potential provider. Agency-approved day home providers also have access to a pool of other providers through he agency that are able to offer back-up care when your provider is occasionally sick or closed for vacation. All day home programs are monitored by supervisory staff, as well as licensing and accreditation agencies.
Overall, a day home is a welcoming space that offers lots of social interaction, stimulating and age-appropriate planned activities, and an educated caregiver to care for your child. Approved day homes are often less expensive than day care.
Daycares are run in a larger facility, can be structured more like school and children are most often grouped according to age. Daycares also need a license to operate, so they, too, follow a minimum set of government regulations to ensure your child’s health, safety, and developmental needs, just as in approved and regulated day home programs. They also may be accredited by another organization by following additional standards with educational and developmental opportunities, as in approved day home programs.
With a larger number of children, daycares usually separate the kids by age-group. This means your child will get lots of peer interaction, and staff assigned to each room according to ratio.
Staff in day care also participate in training through workshops and formal educational opportunities. Daycares employ personnel for child care, and often separate staff for jobs such as cooking and cleaning.
Day cares offer children age-appropriate care with planning based on the age group in each room. Day cares can rotate staff based on the daily needs to meet ratio throughout the day. Day cares are usually able to provide ongoing care in the same room for your child, as staff can be rotated when specific room staff are sick or on vacation. All day cares are monitored by supervisory staff, as well as licensing and accreditation agencies. Day cares vary in what is offered such as meals, snacks, supplies, so be sure to ask lots of questions during the tour.
Overall, a daycare is another welcoming space that will provide lots of peer interaction, age-specific education, play, and a variety of caregivers that will care for your child. Fees tend to be higher in day care as there are more overhead costs associated with this type of care.
Hopefully you now have a clearer understanding of some of the main differences between a daycare and an approved, contracted day home to make your decision easier to make. If you have any questions about approved day homes or daycare, you can always talk to a local childcare agency, like New Dimensions, who would be more than happy to answer your questions.