Choosing Quality Child Care

Did you know?

The quality of the interactions a child experiences in the first few years can produce developmental effects that last a lifetime. So, the first thing you should look at when searching for care is the relationship that the caregiver develops with your child.

Child care subsidy

Child care subsidy, or financial assistance with the cost of child care, is available to families who are working, training or attending school.

Leaving your child in someone else’s care can feel very scary, but doing your research, interviewing providers and visiting the child care sites or homes will help you feel confident your child is in an environment where they can thrive.

It’s important to find quality child care because you will feel confident your child is safe, happy and healthy.

When should you start looking for quality child care?

  • Start looking for quality child care early - basically as soon as you know you will need child care.
  • Many Centre-based and home-based providers have long wait lists.
  • If possible, give yourself at least three months to do your research, interview and visit the child care settings.

What is quality child care?
Quality child care supports a child’s well-being:

  • Emotionally
  • Socially
  • Intellectually
  • Physically

5 steps to finding quality child care:

  1. Determine your family’s needs
    • What hours do you need?
    • Do you require child care subsidy?
  2. Create a list of child care options in your community
    • In Halton contact the Child Care Directory and Information Line for a list of options
    • Select at least three programs to interview
  3. Make phone calls to locations to interview each program
    • Have a list of questions ready in advance
  4. Visit your selected child care programs
    • To prepare for visiting read the “Parents Guide to Quality Child Care” booklet
    • Visit the program during the day to see the centre in action, make observations, ask questions and take notes. Ask for references and call the references.
  5. Choose a child care option that works for your family

    (Detailed checklists for each step are available in the Parents Guide to Quality Child Care booklet. Download or order a copy from the Childcare Directory and Information Line (external link))


  1. The child care provider(s): They are the key to quality child care. They are the individuals who will interact with your child, plan the activities to support and communicate with you about your child's daily activities.
    The provider should...
    • Know how children grow and learn.
    • Be kind, responsive, open and informed.
    • Offer a stable and stimulating setting.
    • Seek out community resources and support.
    • Work on common goals with parents.
    • Take part in workshops, training and networking.
    • Be inclusive of all children.
    • Change the environment/activities to meet the needs of all children.
  2. The environment: It includes the actual play spaces, the equipment and the daily activities. All of these need to be considered when looking for quality child care.
    The child care environment should...
    • Be clean, safe and secure.
    • Provide a nurturing learning environment.
    • Offer a small number of children with each adult, or, if licensed, meet ratios under the Day Nurseries Act.
    • Provide space for quiet and active times, indoor and outdoor play.
    • Offer a variety of easily available toys and equipment that are changed and cleaned often.
    • Provide a balance of interesting activities.
    • Be flexible, yet offer a regular daily routine.
    • Provide nutritious meals and snacks.
    • Be accessible for all children.
Close this section

  Licensed Centre-Based Child Care Licensed Home-Based Child Care Informal Child Care Providers Nannies
Ministry of Education License

No

No

Police Background Check

Unknown

Unknown

Infant/Child CPR Trained

Unknown

Unknown

Professional Development

Unknown

Unknown

Early Child Educators Trained

Minimum 1 per room

Unknown

Unknown

Unknown

Provider to Child Ratio

Under 18 months: 1:3
Under 30 months: 1:5

Up to 5 children
(includes providers children)
Up to 5 children
(plus providers children)
Child to Provider Ratio
Family can stay together

If the same age

Child Care Fee Subsidy Available

No

No


Close this section