Why we are missing our kindergarten friends!

With recent changes in provincial legislation, there has been a lot of confusion about what these new rules mean for parents as well as organizations like ours.  We’d like to do our best to clear up some of the terms and issues. 

When full day kindergarten was fully implemented, licensed child care centres (such as our daycare) were no longer allowed to provide licensed care to kindergarten children.  We soon realized that the need for after school, and out of school (summer, March Break, PA Days) care for that age group was greater than what the child care community could provide.  We received Ministry approval to pilot out of school programs and KinderStars was born.  First, at our main St. Alban’s Clubhouse and, in 2016, several satellite school sites.

KinderStars began with 24 kindergarten aged children, with a ratio of 1:8 with 2 qualified counselors and an RECE, the same staffing and ratio requirements we had in place prior to 2015.  Our staff complete close to 100 hours of training annually, including HIGH FIVE, First Aid/CPR and Boys and Girls Club training.  Our staff are fun, energetic and have a strong commitment to quality children’s programming and the community. The KinderStars program (as well as the KinderCamp summer program) was a great success and filled the needs of the parents and children of our community. 

Unfortunately, the Ministry of Education (MOE) announced that as of September 2017, it would be mandatory for all programs offering care to the kindergarten age group to be licensed. Or, in our case, relicensed at our St. Alban’s site.  At our other KinderStars satellite sites in schools, we are unable to license based on a TDSB mandate to have only one child care provider in a school.  Sadly, many school providers have opted to not run kindergarten programs due to the cost and the challenge of operating a before and after school program. 

The Ministry of Education has established new regulations under the Childcare Early Years Act for child care and after school programs. Under the new regulations, the MOE has defined after school programs provided by Boys and Girls Clubs, Municipalities, YM/YWCA’s, etc. as Authorized Recreation Providers with after school specific regulations.  St. Alban’s Daycare and after school programs meet these new regulations and the almost 500 operating standards of the Boys and Girls Clubs of Canada.

It is our aim to consistently be able to offer programs to children in kindergarten in our community. We started the process of getting licensed as soon as the requirements were defined by the MOE.  However, with almost every child care centre in Ontario trying to get relicensed before September 2017, the licensing office is overwhelmed with applications.  
There are several steps to the application process. Applications are submitted and approved of by Public Health, fire, zoning and the Ministry.  This process has been longer than anticipated and we are currently working on the final stages, including installing sinks in the rooms, which are required by Public Health.  

We would like to thank the parents of our community for their efforts in helping bring the challenges that were facing kindergarten children to the MOE as it really helped push our application forward.

St. Alban’s is committed to providing care for the ever changing and growing needs of the communities we serve. We hope to be able to offer consistent, fun, engaging and safe programming for children of all ages again soon! 

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