Non-Profit Daycare Centres

We all know finding good quality daycare for our children is a top priority if we return to work. I'm happy to welcome Catherine on the blog today, as she tells us more about her daycare experience.  For me, becoming a parent has undoubtedly been the most rewarding and challenging thing I have ever done. Along with all the many high points (first smiles, wonderful hugs, “Mommy, I love you so much!”) and low points, (the multiple night awakenings, tantrums) come the pressures and stresses of being responsible for another being. Especially with my first child, when it came time to make a decision about childcare I found the options overwhelming: nanny, nanny-share, home- based daycare, centre-based daycare, non-profit vs. private, English vs. French, etc. I barraged myself with questions: where was my child going to get the best care? What did this mean? Where would  she have an enriching experience? Where was she going to be the happiest? And what about us? What would make us the happiest?

In the end we chose a non-profit co-op daycare in our community 2 years ago, and are very happy with our choice. This was made even clearer to us when we needed care for our son and put him in a private daycare centre (he could not attend the co-op centre where our daughter attends until he was 18 months old). Our son was very happy at the private centre and he received good quality care from the educators, but it was in another neighbourhood - so we had to do two drop-offs and pickups everyday, which was a particular challenge if one of us was out of town. Our experience with the administration was very negative, we were rarely informed, and never consulted about what was going on at the centre. The fees were higher, we were expected to provide lunches, the snacks provided were often sugary and insubstantial, and the staff were not well treated or paid well, which resulted in a high turnover.

Our son joined our daughter at Capital Daycare Centre as soon as he was old enough. It was a relief for us to be able to walk our kids to daycare and spend less time in cars shuttling them around; something I am sure we will have to do enough of as they grow older and become more involved in activities. We were happy to have our children attend a centre with other children from our neighbourhood who they would also see at the park and on our street, making it easy to foster friendships with other families. As well, Capital Daycare has been providing child care to the families of Old Ottawa South since 1973 – that’s 40 years! And many of the staff have been working there for over 20 years, which makes it feel more like a family than a centre. As a co-op, the centre is managed by a Board of Directors made up of volunteer parents and staff, which gives parents the chance to be involved in the operation of the centre. I have enjoyed the opportunity to serve on the Board for the last 2 years. This has helped me to feel connected to the centre and a partner in the care my children receive, rather than a customer purchasing services.

Every family must weigh many factors when choosing child care for their child/children and make the best decision for their family. For all the reasons above, and many more, the non-profit co-op daycare in our community is the right choice for our family.

Non-profit daycare centres, such as Capital Day Care Centre, are increasingly at-risk of being pushed out of the market by private centres due to cuts in provincial and municipal funding. Our centre recently underwent a 5 year financial planning exercise which showed us that the centre will not be financially viable in 5 years if we are not able to significantly increase our revenue or reduce our costs. In light of this, the Board has decided to make fundraising a priority. We have our first big event planned for May 25th - see below for details. I hope you will consider coming out to help us support keeping good quality, affordable child care in our communities!

Mayfair Movie Day


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Playgroup drop-ins for Ottawa South/Gloucester

by Kamerine I have a three year old boy and a one year old daughter.  When I was on maternity leave with my daughter I pulled my son out of daycare.  I planned to take an unpaid leave from my job to stay home with my kids.

And that's just what I'm doing.  Staying home has been pretty great.  Sure there are bad days but they are far outnumbered by the good.  Staying home isn't the best option for a lot of parents, but it works for me and my family.

There are so many things I love about staying home but there are things I miss about working.  I miss being challenged, having tasks to complete and deadlines to meet, but most of all I miss the adult interaction.  I used to spend a lot of my time corresponding with people by email and over the phone, consulting coworkers and management, and chatting with coworkers who became friends.

Being at home can be very isolating, especially in the cold winter months, so I do my best to get out of the house.  Seeing people saves my sanity and I'm sure my kids love getting out too.

Lucky for us, Global Childcare Services has an outreach program that provides playgroup drop-ins at various locations near me.  The drop-ins are free and they provide a great opportunity for my kids to run around and play with new and exciting toys.  The staff are warm and welcoming and obviously truly care about kids.   There are snacks available for the kids and coffee for the adults.  There are lots of toys to play with, books to read, puzzles to do, and at least one craft set out.  The drop-ins always end with circle time led by one of the staff.

These drop-ins are perfect for meeting other parents.  Over time conversations have moved from the typical "She's so cute!" and "How old is he?" to the friendly exchanges I so crave.  Every week I look forward to going to the drop-ins and seeing the people I've come to know.

I hope if you're home with your kids and in the area - Ottawa South and Gloucester - that you'll check it out.  We're lucky to have this service available.

Kamerine is mom to 3 year old Little J and 1 year old Baby K.  She documents her life with two toddlers, a husband and a cat at

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Organizing for kids

by Heather I organized several day cares and junior kindergarten rooms this past summer and had lot of fun doing the spaces.

In case you haven’t been in a kindergarten room or day care lately, the area is divided into zones (see Julie Morgenstern’s Organizing from the Inside Out) or like mini department stores (as described by Janice Russell).

Each zone in the classroom can be mirrored in your child’s bedroom.

The Reading Zone is where books are stored. Make sure you have enough bookshelf space to put away all books - you might need to add a bookcase. For the younger set, put books in bins that can be placed on a bookshelf, so all the books don’t come tumbling out when just one book is pulled out or put away.

The Rest Area or bed has only what is needed for sleeping or resting.

The Clothing Area would be organized similar to your mudroom or front hall, where children hang their coats on hooks and put their outdoor shoes and backpacks in a bin. Easy-to-reach hooks, bins, and baskets make it easy for your child to put away clothing so it doesn’t end up on the floor. When children share a room, label each bin with the child’s name or photo so each child knows where to put their belongings.

toy bins

Label toy bins with photos for non-readers, and when the child begins to read, use photos and names (in two or three languages if you wish). This helps associate visual cues with words and letters.

toy bintoy bin

Or, as one of my nine-year-old clients did all on her own:

toy bintoy bin

The easier it is for a child to use an organizing system, the more likely they are to use it and learn to apply organizing skills later in life.

Heather Burke Smarts Spaces Organizing follow me on twitter @Smart_Spaces find me on facebook