This week, reader Adam from Whitby submitted a question for the Durham Daycarers team for their take on whether licensed care was worth paying for. Dianne, a licensed day care supervisor and Demi, a Registered Early Childhood Educator (RECE) answered this question from a personal and professional point of view. Neither member of the Durham Daycarers team owns a centre, or shares in the profits from where they work.
Juggling the cost of childcare on top of a mortgage and the multitude of other costs is a struggle for almost every parent I speak to, and each person has personal reasons for why they choose the care that they do. I asked my team the same question my reader asked me – “Are licensed day cares worth the cost?” to get their perspective on whether they felt the cost of licensed care was justified, and if so, their reasons why.
When speaking broadly about the benefits of licensed care, both responded with an overwhelming yes. Both admitted that while licensed care can be expensive, it is worth investing in while children are young. Of course, that’s easy to say when you’re not the parent, but thankfully one member of the Durham Daycarers team is a mother herself. I posed the question again in a different way to understand just how important licensed care is to this team – As a childcare professional, did your experience lead you to put your child in a licensed day care centre? Again, the answer was a firm yes.
The top three reasons that justify the costs of licensed care, as described by the Durham Daycarers team:
- Kindergarten preparedness. One look at the routine found at any centre and you’ll notice how close their consistent and structured routine emulates that of what you’d find in the school system. Planned activities are also tied learning outcomes, preparing both parents and children for the eventual transition to kindergarten.
- Tighter controls over standard of care. The standard of care will always vary between providers – licensed or not – however, there is a noticeable trend among parents who are quickly dissatisfied by unlicensed care. Parents who aren’t so lucky in their choice of home daycare, nanny or family member caregiver will seek out licensed care for reasons such as boredom shown by their child, an ongoing lack of interest or dislike of their caregiver, and more commonly, cases where TV takes over the majority of the child’s day. The framework that guides licensed centres (known as the ELECT or Early Learning for Every Child Today framework) ensures that what takes place within a licensed centre has a early childhood developmental benefit, based on the peer-reviewed literature that informs the document.
- Development of social skills. Licensed care provides the opportunity for children regular interaction with a group of their peers, while supervised by staff who are trained in leading and fostering early childhood development. Day care settings also teach children how to take direction from someone other than their parents – good practice for the eventual transition into the school system. Manners are encouraged often and early, developing good habits for life later on.