Inside Monkey Business Play Centre there is a motorized revolving tree with hanging balls and a foam pit to play

Monkey Business Indoor Play Centre [Review]

The entrance to Monkey Business has two signs viewable from the carpark

The entrance to Monkey Business is located behind the plaza found at Dundas and Hopkins in Whitby. It can appear hidden at first, but just look for these signs!

Monkey Business Indoor Play and Party Centre is a must-visit indoor play place on mat leave for every mom in Whitby. It’s not too big that it’s overwhelming, the centre is spotless and the prices are reasonable for all that’s provided.

Monkey Business is best suited for the under 4 crowd as most of their play structures and activities are small, able to handle 1-5 toddlers at a time. This is 100 per cent the reason why I love coming here so much. At other indoor play centres I always end up acting as a bouncer for the toddler area, as I try to put myself  in front of my child as the older kids tear around. Where’s the fun in that? The whole point of taking our little ones to play centres is to give them some variety to their day, hopefully socialize them and also socialize ourselves! Monkey Business is a perfect set up for this, as the space is small enough that you can take a seat (imagine that) throughout the two rooms while you keep an eye on your little one as they play.

This play centre includes:
  • Two hard play structures
  • A motorized, revolving tree swing
  • A foam pit
  • A doll house
  • A magnetic sand play table
  • A small, single child trampoline
Inside Monkey Business Play Centre there is a motorized revolving tree with hanging balls and a foam pit to play

Inside Monkey Business you can find the one play structure that you won’t be able to find anywhere else in Durham – their motorized, revolving tree with hanging balls! Another favourite is their foam pit where you can shoot tiny basketballs into the hoops.

I also noticed a thoughtful touch here that leads me to think this business is run by people that are invested in making this a good experience for their guests – tissues are provided in clear view for parents to use. Too often businesses are out to nickel and dime their guests, but here, the focus is on the overall experience. Runny noses and wet hands are something we’re all dealing with for kids in this age group. This small but important detail shows a lot of consideration for all their guests and the cleanliness of the space too.


A menu board is posted on the wall inside Monkey Business, listing items available for sale.

The entrance to Monkey Business is located behind the plaza found at Dundas and Hopkins in Whitby. It can appear hidden at first, but just look for these signs!

Did you know that you’re also able to bring your own food and drink here? Hunger is bound to strike from all the running around. Monkey Business has plenty of room for parents to sit and eat with their children, with two long benches set up with seating on either side. Highchairs are also provided to make visits comfortable for parents. The only rule for bringing in food is that you only bring along items that are nut-free for the safety of other children.

  • $7 per drop in play for crawlers and older.
  • $5 per additional sibling, per drop in play.
  • $50 for a family monthly pass. This pass provides you with a full month of unlimited play for three children.

First Impressions: Kendalwood Montessori, Whitby

Kendalwood Montessori

Kendalwood Montessori is located on Consumers Drive in Whitby, close to the 401 and Whitby GO station.

Sadly, the exterior doesn’t do the interior justice at Kendalwood Montessori in Whitby. You’d be forgiven for thinking this centre was hastily thrown together in an old entertainment hall, but in reality this location has been beautifully renovated to suit the school’s needs. Once you drive through the carpark and see the full length of the building, you’ll get a sense for how fast this centre is expanding. Only this year, three new classrooms were completed to meet demand.

Inside, you’ll find some of the most thoughtful touches that easily justify enrolling your child here. For every classroom in the building, you can find full, A4 page profiles of each of the teachers posted to the bulletin boards around the school. These profiles describe the educational background of the teacher, a brief bio and also mention what makes them passionate about working in a Montessori setting. Security is a priority for this centre at it’s multiple entrances, which help to manage the pick up and drop off traffic from all the parents. Each entrance is fitted with a security camera in the entrance way and then again in the areas where the children’s cubbies are kept. After two years of touring child care centres in Durham, I am yet to see this feature anywhere else! Parents are also provided with their own key fob to enter the building, saving staff from interrupting programming to let parents in and out of the facility.

French is provided at this centre and students as young as toddlers benefit, at no extra charge to the standard fees that you would pay. Daily, 15 minute classes are provided to toddlers, which gradually increase as they progress through the Montessori school system.

  • Kendalwood Montessori accepts children from 12 months and up.
  • Centre hours are from 7am-6pm.
  • Full time care for infants aged 12-18 months ranges from $1090-1200, monthly, depending upon the drop off and pick up times you choose for your child. This rate includes a hot lunch.
  • Full time care for toddlers aged 18 months to 2.5 years ranges from $1020-1130, monthly, depending upon the drop off and pick up times you choose for your child. This rate includes a hot lunch.
  • A one-time registration fee of $100 is due upon registration for new students.
  • A $400 deposit is required upon registration. This amount will be deducted from the June tuition.
  • This centre accepts students for full time care, only.
  • All program costs – French, Music, Gym and field trips are included in the above fees.


First Impressions: Walnut Street Junior School

The name of the Walnut Street Junior School day care centre always left me stumped. The name, Junior School, wasn’t like anything else I had come across on the many tours that I’ve been on so far, so on my tour at this facility I was determined to get to the bottom of it. After spending much longer than I do on most tours with the supervisor here, I learned that the name “Junior School” is a nod of acknowledgement for the dedication to learning that staff focus on here.

A view from the street of Walnut Street Junior School

Walnut Street Junior School is located in a quiet residential area in downtown Whitby off Brock Street.

The supervisor that I met with has, to date, given me the most comprehensive understanding of the emergent curriculum, it’s philosophy, application and benefits to children. I’ve visited over 12 centres in my work for this series so far, so I really felt as though I had found something special here. All learning (or programming as they refer to it) is documented and displayed in centres using the emergent curriculum, but what I find is that during tours, supervisors treat these details as a footnote rather than a full chapter like they ought to be.

At Walnut Street I spoke with the supervisor about how important explanations like this would be to parents who have an interest in the educational benefits of day care and Tiffany was quick to agree. As a RECE and head trainer for programming for the organization that owns Walnut Street (it’s name is Victoria Village), Tiffany is regularly asked to hold workshops and is passionate about empowering her staff in their roles as educators. She is so well regarded by her organization because of her creative, accessible and friendly approach to education using the ELECT framework (the curriculum in use in child care centres, among other settings) and the emergent curriculum.

To give you a sense of the work involved – RECEs are working with two curriculum documents, plus all the documentation and observation required to ensure that the program is child-led (this is the basis of the emergent curriculum). This centre is actively seeking ways to create more meaningful experiences for both children and parents within these frameworks. An equal amount of consideration and planning goes into ensuring parents have access to classroom observations, program plans and learning outcomes.

My takeaway for you is this – If you are a parent that prioritizes learning as part of your day care experience, contact Walnut Street for a tour. Use this centre as a benchmark to compare against other centres. There’s a wonderful passion for education here that is comparable to what you would find at an elementary school level.

  • Centre opens from 6.30am to 6.30pm.
  • Accepting children 3 months and older.
  • The infant rate is $1174 per month.
  • The toddler rate is $1010 per month.
  • Registration is a one time fee of $85.
  • This centre is located in a quiet residential area, opposite a large park and playground.
  • This location is easy to access off Brock Street, driving south towards the 401 entrance and Whitby GO.

First Impressions: EDUKids Dundas Street

Photos from the entrance to EDUKids Dundas Street

The location of EDUKids Dundas Street may throw you off at first. It’s close enough to the corner of Dundas and Hopkins streets in Whitby to be convenient for commuters on their way to the Whitby GO station, but also tucked away in a quiet corner at the back of a commercial plaza for privacy from any traffic.

This was my second tour of an EDUKids day care after I previously visited the EDUKids location in BrooklinFrom what I’ve seen from both these centres, EDUKids centres appear to excel at an operational level. This stood out to me from the professional information packs for prospective parents to the attentive experience I received when booking a tour and visiting in person. I never had to call twice, wait for a return phone call or remind the Director of any details I mentioned over the phone. For the duration of my tour I received the Director’s full attention. When she informed me of the long waitlists for her centre, I wasn’t surprised.

This centre advertises the flexible payment options available to parents, and I am yet to come across this anywhere else so this was something i knew I had to mention. EDUKids offers the option to pay your fees using Mastercard, VISA, cheque or direct deposit. There are no penalties (like an additional 3% charge, for example) for using a credit card to pay, which is always a welcome back up for any parent to have.

  • This facility is open from 6.45am to 6.15pm, daily.
  • The full time infant rate is $260 per week.
  • The full time toddler rate is $225  per week.
  • Upon registration, one week’s deposit is required.
  • Registration fee is $25.
  • This centre follows the emergent curriculum.

Buy farm-fresh food for baby at Healthy Meats

As a health-conscious mom, what my baby ate was one my top priorities for the first year of his life. This was especially important when it came to buying meat. A quick Google search led me to visit Healthy Meats in downtown Whitby, a family-run store that sells locally-sourced chicken, beef, pork, turkey, bison and fish. Healthy Meats pride themselves on their selection of meat products produced without the use of steroids, hormones, dyes, water injection or systematic use of antibiotic treatments.

A view from the street of the Healthy Meats store

There are many reasons for new families to check out this store – You may be a supporter of local business or perhaps a mom that worries about what’s in your little one’s food. What every customer will take away from a visit here is personalized and friendly service that you can’t get from the meat section at big supermarkets. I had not intended to stop for a chat but the staff here are always so friendly that I do. The staff visit the farms that they source from, so if you have questions about the products available, they can find an answer for you.

Healthy Meats is located in Downtown Whitby at (121 Brock St N, Whitby).

Cost: Most products will cost $2-3 more per kilogram than than what you would expect to pay for the antibiotic-free range of meats at Superstore.

What’s On: 2015 Canada Day in Durham

Whether you’re a family that likes to enjoy the day out celebrating with the community, or a more quiet celebration at home, I’ve got you covered with these patriotic activities for 2015 Canada Day in Durham:

A child dressed in a shirt with a Canadian flag holds on to his fathers hands

Have a Canada Day picnic with the family and serve maple leaf shaped watermelon pieces.

Host a play date and dress your little ones in their cutest red and white themed outfits. If you’re looking for inspiration, Carters has a cute Canada Day Collection for girls and boys.

Check out any one of the community events in hosted by the City of Ajax, City of PickeringCity of Oshawa, Township of Scugog, Township of Uxbridge or Town of Whitby.

Make a special Canada Day handprint keepsake.




First Impressions: Perry House

Centre becomes somewhat of a misleading term after touring here and realising it’s more of a campus – Perry House is made up of three converted homes on Perry Street and a collection of outdoor spaces behind each of the buildings. From the street it’s impossible to miss the fleet of Perry House branded buses that transport children from before and after school programs to the centre. It’s something that’s really unlike any other centre I’ve seen in Whitby so far.

A view from the street of the main building at Perry House

Perry House has been in operation for 39 years and is a not for profit organization.

Outdoor play space is made up of the yards behind the three converted homes and what appears to be a few extra pieces of land that they’ve also acquired on the block. Each yard remains separated by the original fences of each property. It seems as though it’s been kept this way for a reason, with each backyard space designed to suit the needs of the different age groups that attend here. As an example, one of the backyards for the older children contains a pool, enclosed by a tall fence for privacy and safety. The grass in the infant/toddler area is limited here as you’ll find in a lot of day cares in downtown Whitby however, this is the first centre I’ve seen with poured rubber surfacing under their toddler play structure.
Once you see the campus in action, you soon get a sense that the easy and relaxed friendship between staff breaks down any of the physical barriers between rooms or play spaces. It reminds me of a friendly neighborhood where everyone knows each other by first name and visits each other often. This is likely due to their low staff turnover – the supervisor at this centre is among three of the staff who have worked at this centre for over 18 years. Perry House’s culture appears to be a second family for staff and children alike.
  • Accepting infants as early as 2 weeks old.
  • Infant and toddler programs only offer full time programs.
  • The rate for children aged 2 weeks to 18 months is $54 per day (or $247 per week).
  • The rate for children aged 18-30 months is $48 per day (or $227 per week).
  • This centre uses an emergent curriculum.
  • All children’s bedding is laundered on site.
  • The toddler program is split into two with a room for Junior Toddlers and one for Senior Toddlers.

First Impressions: St. Matthew YMCA Child Care Centre

All that you find at the Whitby St. Matthew YMCA Centre will make sense to parents that are seeking quality childcare at an affordable price in North Whitby. The YMCA is the largest not for profit provider of Licensed Child Care in Canada and they use a Play To Learn curriculum.

A view from the street in front of Whitby St. Matthew YMCA Centre

The location is perfect if you plan on sending your child to St Matthews or have children that already attend this school. The day care operates out of the same building as the elementary school so it shares a lot of the same look and feel inside. The toddler room has tall ceilings and lots of natural light from the windows that look out onto the outdoor space in the front yard.

Whenever I go on a tour I make sure to take a look at all the facilities. It’s easy to overlook parts of a program or a facility if you’ve been looking at a lot of centres. This happened on my tour when I was invited to see the washroom/change room. It looks like most centres – Neat, tidy, organized. That was until I noticed the detailed notes hanging from the wooden cubbies that divided up the children’s wipes and diapers. On each note were instructions for each parent’s preferences for diaper changes. I can appreciate seeing something like this because it shows that staff are listening to parents. It can be time consuming to stay on top of documentation in any job but what I liked to see is that the staff at this centre make a special effort to do so. Part of the reason that staff are able to maintain this level of detail in their work is because the number of children that attend here is kept intentionally small. The centre is licensed for up to 15 children but they currently only take 10.

Detailed documentation is even a part of the communication booklets that are shared with parents daily. Communication booklets or sheets are something that most centres will have. What’s special about what the YMCA offers is that their book is a communication and Continual Development Booklet all in one. This booklet tracks daily activity notes in addition to notes on how your child is meeting developmental milestones. The intention of this tool is to create discussion with parents and help shape the types of activities they take on to help further their development. If you’re interested in learning more, below are the details:

  • Accepting children from 15 months and up.
  • Centre is open from 6.45am-6pm.
  • The monthly rate varies. The rate is calculated using the daily rate multiplied by the number of weekdays in the month (e.g. For September 2015, the daily rate of $45.45 is multiplied by the 22 week days in the month = $999.90). Across the year, you can expect to pay between $954.45 and $1045.35 per month. This number includes tax.
  • Registration is additional at $45.
  • All food is included in the price. This includes 2 snacks and one meal, daily.
  • Laundry is done on site. This saves from taking blankets home and washing them each week.

First Impressions: Royal Pine Montessori Academy

Royal Pine Montessori Academy is new to Durham so a quick search for reviews won’t yield much. Open since September last year, this gorgeous facility operating out of downtown Whitby is one that I’m sure will build a good name for itself. If you find yourself falling somewhere between loving the day care centre model but preferring the look of a home daycare environment, this option could be for you. At Royal Pine what stood out for me was the staff. After meeting Jamar for my tour, I can understand why one of the parents followed him from his last workplace to here – he’s one of the few childcare professionals I’ve met with a truly vibrant energy and passion for education.

A view of Royal Pine Montessori from Ash Street, Whitby

In any tour, it’s important to ask any burning What-if questions to get staff out of tour mode and get a sense for how they handle issues day to day. In most cases, the answers most centres provide are the same. What I look for is the way staff answer to learn more about their personalities. At Royal Pine, I asked what would happen to my child if I had a GO Train delay that caused me to be late. Jamar was nothing less than professional when he explained that many of the parents he worked for have been in similar situations and in those cases, he makes do. No hesitation in his response, no guilt trip, no long-winded warning about arriving late in unforeseen circumstances – only professionalism, understanding and a promise that my child would be cared for regardless of the situation.

The facility is every bit as historic and homely inside as it is, outside. The backyard is lush and green, covered in grass with lots of shade from mature trees. The toddler room is located on the main floor of the building and is connected to a kitchen where lunches will be prepared, on site. I say – will be – as the toddler program has not yet opened. Royal Pine is accepting applications and plans to begin this program within the next few months or earlier, based on demand.

  • Registration is $150.
  • Accepting children from 18 months to 6 years.
  • Open from 7am to 6pm.
  • Full and part time care available.
  • Toddler program fees start at $675 for part time care (3 days, 9am-3.30pm) and start at $950 for full time care (5 days, 9am-3.30pm).
  • Lunch fees are additional.
  • MACTE accredited teachers.
  • French, Gym and Music programs included.

First Impressions: Read-A-Long Nursery School

Blink and you might miss it – Read-A-Long Nursery School and Day Care is located along Thickson Road, Whitby, in an unassuming, converted home. Inside, this centre feels like the home of a large family. There are definitely more modern and well-designed centres out there, but that’s not the charm here. What impressed me most about this centre is it’s welcoming atmosphere and vibrant energy. There’s nothing snooty about it. The children express themselves freely and the staff are relaxed and at ease.

Read A Long Nursery School and Day Care

Part of me always wonders if staff act differently when parents visit on tours. At Read A Long I never felt like that was the case. There was no change in body language when I joined the room, no fake smiles. The staff in the toddler room talked freely about their curriculum as they sat among the children, wiping noses and correcting behaviour.

The kitchen/dining/living room space on the main floor is one mostly without walls. At the time of my tour, there were preschoolers in the living room dancing for their music class and a large group chattering vividly as they worked on their artwork in the dining area. The chef joined their conversation from the kitchen next to their table, smiling and laughing while she cut cheese for their morning snack. The hustle and bustle here reminds me of what it feels like to visit family during Christmas. Lots of excitement and noise, with relaxed parents working hard in the background to make sure everyone has a good time.

My tour review wouldn’t be complete without a mention of the outdoor space on offer here. Any concerns you may have about the busy road location will be long gone once you see the backyard. The large area, variety of play structures, mature trees and green grass is similar to what you’d enjoy at a park in your own neighbourhood.

I commend Read-A-Long for all the information they provide online for parents. Many of the details listed below and testimonials are available on their site, but are repeated here as a summary:

  • Accepting children from 12 months and up.
  • Full time, full day care is $210 per week ($840 per month).
  • Full time and part time care is available.
  • Open from 6.30am to 6.30pm.
  • Centre closes earlier for the months of July and August at 6pm.
  • No registration fee is required.
  • Vacation policy: 2 weeks at no charge, per year.