This week, reader, Luisa submitted a question for the Durham Daycarers team to ask about the hours of operation that a day care chooses to use. Luisa wants to know – Why don’t more centres have better opening and closing hours? Juggling a demanding job and a horrible commute is hard enough. What are options do working parents have? Dianne, a licensed day care supervisor and Demi, a Registered Early Childhood Educator (RECE) answered outlined three main reasons for this – A centre’s hours are based on insurance policies, the location of a centre and the demand from parents – in their response below.
Opening hours affect insurance policies, and therefore costs
You will notice that most licensed centres will either open at 6.30am or 7am and close between 6-6.30pm. This is partly because of the insurance policies that cover any liability at a centre, and any policies purchased for these time frames is considered standard in the childcare industry. Anything more than this becomes non-standard, and obviously costs more. To remain competitive, many centres are hesitant to pass on these extra costs to parents unless there is significant demand. However, there are centres that are exceptions to this rule, and this is likely because so many parents have expressed interest.
Demand from parents can drive opening hours
Between 6.30am and 6pm is when the majority of parents need childcare, which is why so many providers are open for such similar hours. Outside of this time, most parents have finished work or have family that are available to take over and watch their children for free. That said, not every parent is lucky enough to be in this situation. If you find yourself falling in love with a centre, but are left wishing the hours were better, Iet the centre supervisor know. Centres want to remain profitable, so if enough parents give express interest in opening earlier, or later, these considerations will be taken seriously.
The location of a centre has a big role in opening hours
Key considerations for staff that decide their centre hours is how a centre fits into a parent’s day. Centres close to a GO station and other transit options are usually open earlier at 6.30am to accommodate for parents who commute. Centres that are located away from major transit routes like the 401 or 407 are likely to attract parents with part time schedules, work from home or stay at home parents who can be more flexible and don’t depend on an early opening time.
Finding what works may take some creativity
If you’re finding a centre’s hours restrictive or creating stress in your routine, consider finding a centre that’s closer to work. For parents working downtown, a centre in Pickering or Scarborough that opens at 6.30am close to the 401 may be more convenient than working around the schedule of a more local centre. Alternatively, coordinate a back-up babysitter with enough flexibility who can pick up your child on the days you’re running late. Ensure thy’re equipped with a carseat and talk it over with centre staff so they’re aware that person has been pre-approved by you.