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The Daycare Handbook: A Parents� Guide to Finding and Keeping Quality Daycare in Canada

Click here to read an excerpt.

An indispensable guide for the working parent.

Research shows clearly that good child care is good for children and bad child care is bad for them. When your children have high quality care, you can go to work without worry, knowing that they are in a safe, healthy, loving, stimulating environment where they can develop into the wonderful special people that they have the potential to be.

The Daycare Handbook takes you through the process of finding high quality care, step by step, no matter where you live.

What readers say about The Daycare Handbook

“Editor’s Choice: a comprehensive and much needed guide.”
—The Globe and Mail, Toronto

“Everything a parent needs to know to find appropriate daycare.”
—The Toronto Sun

“Worth every penny.”
—Bitty Bum Ditty, Diaper Service Newsletter, Montreal

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Excerpts from The Daycare Handbook

Finding good daycare is not a Saturday afternoon excursion like buying a crib. Daycare is confusing and complicated, and the stakes�the well-being of your child and your own equanimity�are very high.

When you begin, finding good daycare will feel like a gargantuan, mind-boggling undertaking. But the longer you spend at it and the more you see, the less overwhelmed you will be. Suddenly everything will make sense, the choice will become clear, and you�ll be very glad that you made the effort.

In Canada today daycare is a fact of life. The majority of women with school-aged children are employed; the majority of women with preschool-aged children are employed; and the majority of women with children under three are employed. Women often have careers before they have families; and they value themselves as wage-earners and members of the work force. They depend on and enjoy the income they generate, and they take maternity leave rather than abandoning their jobs when they give birth. Chances are, if you are reading this, that you are a working parent or planning to be one.

When men and women went to work in olden times, they counted on their numerous relatives to help with child care. But these days an extended family�especially one that lives in the vicinity and is available during working hours�is almost a curiosity. Our families have shrunk, and no one among us, male or female, is at home to take care of the children. We have structured our lives so that we need daycare in order to function. Without it, we have to give up either our work or our children�which we simply are not prepared to do. We are really and truly stuck.

When you have a job and a baby, no matter what your gender, you immediately metamorphose into a consumer of daycare services.

Research shows clearly that good daycare is good for children, and bad daycare is bad for them. You therefore want good daycare for your child, and that is what this book is about. When your child has high quality daycare, you can go to work without worry, knowing that he is in a safe, healthy, loving, stimulating environment where he can continue to learn and develop into that wonderful special person that he is.

The key to finding high quality daycare is knowledge. Once you know what is good for your child, you will be able to recognize it, demand it, and find it, even when there isn't enough to go around.

This book will give you that knowledge. Because it is easy to be deceived by smiling directors and freshly painted buildings that resemble little red schoolhouses, we will describe high quality care in scrupulous detail. We will advise you to notice the teacher�s face, posture, tone of voice�and where she puts the Kleenex. We will tell you about daycare centers, sitters and nannies, family or private home daycare, and school-age child care. We will tell you what the research and the regulations say, what parents, teachers, and daycare directors say�and we will help you to discover what really matters to you. Then we will provide you with checklists and contingency plans.

Even after your child is happily settled in the daycare of your choice, it is possible to get stuck. You want and need your daycare arrangement to work so that you can work; and if you never examine it closely, of course it appears to function perfectly. It is always easier to turn a blind eye than to look trouble in the face. But daycares change; directors and caregivers move on; children grow. When we don�t watch our children and don�t pay attention to their surroundings, they can get hurt, physically and emotionally.

As John F. Kennedy once put it, “The price of liberty is eternal vigilance.” Having a child in daycare means watching closely. We will describe strategies for keeping in touch with your child�s caregiver, explain health issues and daycare politics, and help you to figure out when to switch daycares.

Parents who want and demand good daycare will help to create more good daycare and will make good daycare better. If we refuse to settle for bad daycare, bad daycare will have to improve or lose its customers. Governments that write the regulations and hold the purse strings will have to sit up and take notice. Like any other product, daycare will respond to the voices of the consumer.

An informed parent is an empowered parent. When you know what you are doing, you will have and make choices that are good for you and your child.

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Copyright © 1991 by Barbara Kaiser and Judy Sklar Rasminsky. This material is copyrighted and may not be reproduced in any manner or medium without written permission. For information, contact

SPECIAL OFFER: $10.00. You can order The Daycare Handbook at

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