What Is Quality Child Care

The National Statement on Quality Child Care (Canadian Child Care Federation) outlines the following as the seven most important areas parents should be concerned about with regards to quality child care.

1] Caregiver Qualifications


    * Staff members who have at least one year ECE or child development education
    * A commitment to continued education through a combination of training courses, seminars, books and association newsletters
    * A genuine interest in both the children and the family
    * An ability to outwardly express affection
    * A happy personality.

2] Child Development


    * Programming that involves physical, social, intellectual and emotional learning through a variety of activities and play materials
    * A daily balance between indoor and outdoor play; quiet and active times; group activities and individual activities
    * An opportunity for children to initiate activities
    * A daily routine children can become familiar with and anticipate
    * Children in a quality child care setting are happy and playing contentedly when parents arrive to pick them up. They bring home art work, show enthusiasm for going to the place of care, and repeat songs, games and stories they have been taught.

3] Child/Staff Ration & Group Size

    * Play a very big role in quality child care. Children learn more and socialize better in small groups where the caregiver can provide them with more personalized interaction and caring.
    * The number of children cared for by one adult should be low, as should the size of the group - no matter how many adults are present. This is particularly important for infants and toddlers who require more one-on-one nurturing
    * Family daycare home providers should have no more than six children, including the provider's own children, at one time. Of those, there should be no more than one infant under 18 months.

4] Health & Nutrition


    * Good handwashing techniques of staff and children
    * Separate diaper changing areas away from food and food preparation areas
    * A sick room
    * Overall cleanliness of staff and facility
    * Sick child policy
    * Involvement of community health practitioners such as a physician, dental hygienist, health nurse
    * Up-to-date health records and immunization requirements
    * Medication and emergency medical treatment permission slips
    * Food prepared according to the federal food guide, i.e., morning and afternoon snacks, proper meals, posted menus
    * Food served in small groups that are properly supervised.

5] Safety


    * Emergency telephone numbers posted by each phone
    * Written plans for emergencies that are clearly posted in each room
    * Working smoke detectors, fire extinguishers and sprinkler systems
    * Well-stocked and accessible first aid kit
    * Staff members who have a valid first-aid and infant CPR certificate
    * Stairwells that are not cluttered
    * A minimum of two exits.

6] Parent/Caregiver Relationships


    * Be one of mutual respect
    * Include daily communication either (hopefully) oral or written
    * Include frequent parent/provider consultations
    * Include an open environment where parents are welcome anytime, in any part of the facility without notice
    * Include bulletin boards for notices, menus, activities, field trips, and parent communications.

7] Partnerships


    * Providers who are associated with local organizations, agencies and local training institutions, who work hand in hand with licensing boards to maintain the minimum standard of care
    * Membership in local, provincial/state and national organizations
    * The use of community resources such as libraries, schools, museums, and help children learn more about the world around them.


The National Statement on Quality Child Care
Canadian Child Care Federation
#306, 120 Holland
Ottawa, Ontario K1Y 9Z9