Meet the Durham Daycarers

I’ve been in the fortunate position to meet the staff at many centres through my work on this blog, and two of the staff I met on my tours have agreed to be part of a regular series on The Motherhood Scene! This two-part team are passionate about their work as childcare professionals and are ready to answer your questions from a uniquely Durham perspective.

Your childcare questions answered, every Wednesday.
In this new series you will have the opportunity to ask the Durham Daycarers YOUR questions. Each week a blog post will be dedicated to answering one reader’s question from the perspective of both members of the Durham Daycarers team.

They have over 25 years combined experience working in licensed centres across Durham.
Our newest writers have broad experience working with children of all ages (infant, toddler, preschool and school age) in Pickering, Whitby and Oshawa areas. The more experienced member of the team, Dianne, works as a supervisor, and Demi, the second member of the team, works as a Registered Early Childhood Educator (RECE). To give this team the freedom to respond to your questions as best as possible, they’ve chosen not using their real names so they can remain anonymous.

Best of all, they’re excited to hear from you!
The aim of this series is to help parents feel confident about their childcare choices and educate parents on how to work with childcare professionals to get the best experience for their child. Demi writes, “My hope is that I can help parents with their questions and concerns, or even just to provide reassurance that there are good, loving caregivers in day cares”.

Readers, it’s over to you. What have you always wanted to ask someone working at a centre?
At any time you can comment on the blog, write us an email or send a message on Facebook with questions that you want answered. We’re looking forward to hearing from you!

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.

First Impressions: Magic Pencils Learning Centre

Magic Pencils Learning Centre Oshawa

Magic Pencils is a large centre that operates on both levels of the building and includes an outdoor yard just off their carpark

Families with shift workers take note – If you’re struggling to find a centre that can cater to your early starts and late nights, Magic Pencils is worth the visit. This centre is open as early as 5.30am and closes as late as 9.30pm for two days out of the week (every other day it’s 8pm). These hours are rare to find in a centre, but very much needed for anyone with commuting long distances or working shifts.

The street front of the facility does not at all reflect what’s inside. Magic Pencils occupies the entire building, including both the upper and lower floor. Inside, the older architecture of the building adds to the charm of each room. I felt a connection with the supervisor immediately as she spoke about how her centre incorporates technology into the preschool program. She spoke with confidence and her depth of knowledge came through with her effortless way of answering my questions. What I appreciated is that while she’s been in the business for some time, she is open to trying new things to keep children engaged and learning.

  • Accepting newborns and older.
  • The weekly rate for infants is $240 weekly (full time only).
  • The weekly rate for toddlers is $225 weekly (part time also available at $46 per day).
  • Registration is $25.
  • Each child has access to two weeks vacation after being with the centre one year. Fees are half the regular price during this time, and this is to hold your child’s spot.
  • This centre is also open Saturday (8.30am-5pm).
  • Dinner is also served here for children staying late, however additional charges apply ($3 per child, per meal).

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.

First Impressions: EDUKids St Thomas Childcare Centre

A view of the St Thomas EDUKids location from St Thomas StreetBefore touring St Thomas EDUKids, I always felt as if I had known the centre by association. Talk to enough Brooklin moms (or join their Facebook group!) and you’ll begin to notice a trend. The moms that have sent their kids to St Thomas have only the best things to say about this centre and their staff.

At first glance, this facility feels a lot like an elementary school, more so than a centre. St Thomas is located in the basement of the church that you see from the street, but it doesn’t feel anything like one when you step inside. It’s a large facility with more than six classrooms built next to multiple windows to ensure that each room has plenty of natural light. From the moment you enter through bright entrance way from the car park, you’re greeted by the bulletin boards filled with helpful information for parents and a centralized admin office from which the supervisor works from, similar to what I remember finding at the office in an elementary school.

Now that I’m more familiar with what to expect on a tour, I look for signs that the staff working in a centre enjoy what they do. Staff relationships do have an effect on the learning environment, so I look for clues in how staff act in front of the person giving the tour (usually their boss!). At St Thomas, I stopped by multiple classrooms and chatted with the staff about their interests and their day. They spoke freely and there was lots of smiles and laughs. Seeing staff so relaxed and happy gave me insight into the rave reviews for this centre and in particular, why so many reviews praise the supervisor here. It’s obvious that both staff and parents enjoy the atmosphere she’s created here.

  • Registration fee is $25.
  • The full time infant rate is $255 per week.
  • The full time toddler rate is $215  per week.
  • Upon registration, one week’s deposit is required.
  • Centre is open from 6.30am to 6.30pm, daily.
  • Accepting children from 6 weeks and up.
  • St Thomas Childcare is a Christian centre, meaning that “grace” is said at meals and Christian holidays are celebrated.

First Impressions: Little Orchard Daycare Brooklin

A view of Little Orchard Daycare Brooklin from Baldwin Street

You don’t need a tour to get a glimpse of what makes Little Orchard Daycare so captivating with it’s lush, forest-like garden that overlooks the main street in Brooklin. The large, park-like area out front is used in the summer for it’s soft grass and generous amounts of shade. Out back you’ll find a more traditional asphalt, sandpit and play structure area for children to use on days when the sun is not so strong.

There’s something about this centre that has a storybook feel to it. A big part of it’s charm borrowed from the building, which is a heritage listed property. Then there’s also the staff, who are as kind and warm characters you’d expect to find in a children’s story. The staff I met greeted me without prompting and took an interest in my child as well as me. Upon meeting with supervisor Maria, I warned her that I had a lot of questions and that I might take up too much of her time. She didn’t let me apologize and reassured me that asking questions was important. As a mother herself, she said she understood and was willing to give her time to explain all that she could.

Little Orchard Daycare is a smaller centre, which may be why it felt like it moved at a gentler pace than some of the bigger centres I’ve visited. I’d recommend this centre for families that are looking for the structure of a centre with the feel of a home day care and/or families looking for a facility with lots of green space.

 Accepting children from 15 months and up.
  • Centre is open from 7am-6pm.
  • Full time and part time (3 days) care is available.
  • The daily rate for full time toddlers is $45, part time toddlers is $50.
  • The daily rate for full time preschoolers is $42, part time preschoolers is $46.
  • Your monthly rate will vary, based on the number of days in the month. The rate is calculated using the daily rate multiplied by the number of weekdays in the month (e.g. For February 2016, the daily rate of $45 is multiplied by the 20 week days in the month = $900). This rate also includes tax.
  • Registration is $85.
  • Snacks, meals and music programs are included in the rate.
  • This centre follows the emergent curriculum.

*Post updated on February 24, 2016 to reflect new rates and billing structure for this centre.