Childcare Options with the Halifax & Region MFRC
The Halifax & Region MFRC offers a variety of childcare services and programs including two licensed daycare facilities, weekday and Saturday casual care, special event and program casual care, emergency and respite childcare and a comprehensive childcare registry. We strive to provide quality care to all children that attend any of our programs. Our staff members are trained professionals who ensure children attending our childcare programs receive the utmost care at all times.
Like many other childcare facilities, we have extensive waitlists with our daycare programs and we recommend you go on other waiting lists of centres in your area. Separate waitlists are maintained for each of our locations; therefore please contact Halifax and Shearwater directly should you wish to be placed on both lists. For more information on Childcare Options with the Halifax & Region MFRC check out our Childcare Options Handbook (link).
For a comprehensive list of all childcare facilities within the Halifax Regional Municipality and surrounding areas, please visit the Department of Community Services website.
Questions to ask when visiting a childcare facility:
- Is the program licensed?
- Where is the license posted? (It must be posted)
- Is the Centre in compliance from their last license inspection?
- What formal qualifications, training and experience do the caregivers have? (Early Childhood Education, Special Needs training, workshops, first aid).
- What is the staff-to-child ratio? (Infants 1:4 no more than 10 in a room, toddlers 1:6, preschool 1:8 and school aged 1:15).
- How much staff turnover is there?
- What are the behaviour guidance practices?
- What is the curriculum or plan for the program?
- What is a typical daily schedule?
- Are adequate fire and safety precautions taken? (Smoke detectors, emergency exits, window guards, monthly fire drills, etc.).
- What is the emergency evacuation plan?
- How often will children be taken outdoors/outings?
- How flexible are pick-up and drop-off times?
- How often do parents receive feedback about their child’s progress and activities?
- Is there daily communication about my child’s day?
- Are surprise visits and input from parents/friends/family encouraged?
- What is the sick policy?
- How much TV/movies do the children watch?
- Ask to look at the menu. It is required to be approved by a nutritionist.
- How often are toys and equipment cleaned?
- Is each child assigned to a primary caregiver? (Especially important for infants and toddlers).
- How does nap time work? What happens if my child doesn’t nap?
- How does the centre assist in toilet training?
- Can they bring toys or comfort items from home?
- What is the centre’s policy about soothers?
- How does the centre handle allergies or other special needs?
Set-up a time to observe a regular day at the centre and be sure to take note of the following:
- Are the caregivers friendly? Do they get down to speak eye-to-eye with the children?
- How are children comforted?
- Is the space well lit, well ventilated and clean?
- Is the space properly childproofed?
- Is diaper changing done in a clean area well away from food and toys?
- Is there soap at every sink and are hands washed well and often?
- Are there distinct areas for quiet play, rest and active play?
- Are there clean, safe, age-appropriate toys and activities for all children?
- Is there a safe, fenced-in outdoor play area?
- Do you hear the sounds of happy children?
- Note safety issues such as, covered electric outlets, cleaners/chemicals out of reach from children.
- What is the policy concerning medications?
- Are the medications out of reach of children?
- How much do you see teachers talking with one another or doing “busy work” vs. playing with the children?
- Are the toys in good repair?
- Notice the noise level.
- Is there children’s artwork around the room?
Questions when interviewing an in-home caregiver:
- How long have you been working as an in-home caregiver? (Get a list of all previous employers with phone numbers and information regarding the age of the children).
- Do you have any special training or qualifications as a caregiver?
- How long were you in your most recent position? Why did you leave?
- Do you keep in touch with any families you once worked for?
- Have you worked with both boys and girls?
- How old were the children when you started?
- Do you smoke?
- Do you have a valid driver’s license? (In case of an emergency).
- How do you handle discipline?
- What types of games and activities would you play with our children?
- Have you ever been in an emergency situation? What did you do?
- Create a few scenarios. For example: If my child hit his head and started bleeding, what would you do? Or, if my baby won’t stop crying, what would you do?
- How does your family support you in care giving?
- What are your expectations from parents?
- Do you have pets?
- Ask for references from parents whose children have been cared for in the home by the caregiver.