8 things you need to know about daycares & preschools
Daycare centers and preschools can be run by private companies, local councils, community organizations, individuals, non-profit organizations or by employers for their staff.
They can be located in anything from church basements to specifically-designed child-care centers, but as they need a license to run, they must meet local government criteria.
Most full-day daycare centers will have an early education component to their program providing structured learning activities as well as childcare.
Unfortunately, daycares and preschools in most locations tend to have long waiting lists. There is also usually little flexibility in terms of when you child is ill – the policies can be strict regarding sending children home at the first sign of symptoms.
Daycare and preschool can be available for all day or part of the day - centers usually operate between 8:00am and 4:00pm. Some centers offer extended days, usually for additional fees, from 7:30am til 6:00pm.
Many preschools offer morning or afternoon sessions from 2 to 5 days a week, usually from 8:30am to 12pm and from 12:30pm to 4:00pm.
There are usually rigid pickup and drop-off times with penalties for being late. There may be an option to pay extra if you need early drop off or late pick up.
Some many preschools and some daycares close completely for the winter and summer holidays especially if they are attached to or housed in a school.