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Top 15 Canadian University Childcare Centres (2019)

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Early child care centres are unheralded for the indispensable service they provide to student parents.

Caring for a toddler while taking on full academic studies at university tacks on a full-time occupation onto another. It’s why more than half of single mothers leave school before earning a college degree.

Quality campus child care is important because it enhances student parents’ capacity to balance their time and load management.

With Mother's Day around the corner, OneClass wants to recognize the best childcare centres offered by Canadian universities by presenting the inaugural OneClass Best Universities Child Care Centres award to the following 15 Canadian universities.

Inaugural Best Universities Child Care Centres of 2019 award presented by OneClass

Best Universities Child Care Centres of 2019 award

The following factors were used to consider each school’s child care program’s ranking: price, meals provided, student prioritization, location, child/educator ratio, hours flexibility, school bursaries and childcare school resources. The following 15 schools are not sorted in any particular order.

1. McGill University - Childcare Centre

McGill University building in the winter time

Childcare Centre - McGill University: 3491 Peel St, Montreal, QC H3A 1W7

Based on the Ministry of Education, the McGill University Care Centre structures their program to facilitate the development of children’s emotional, physical and motor, social and moral, and language abilities.

The program has a schedule that responds to individual childrens’ needs yet is fixed enough to ensure a sense of structure and predictability. It incorporates a balance of indoor and outdoor, and restful and active activities. This includes one to one quiet times (especially for 0-17 month olds), routines for play time, eating, toileting and resting.

The programs are flexible and change to meet the needs of the children. Additional programs and special activities take place within the basic daily routine. These include weekly music and occasional multi-cultural holiday celebrations. Parents are informed of these special programs or themes in advance through the periodic newsletters sent home by the educators.

2. University of Winnipeg - Students' Association Day Care

Side view of the UWSA Day Care building

UWSA Day Care Centre: 548 Furby Pl, Winnipeg, MB R3B 2V8

The UWSA Day Care’s program is based on four key components: interactions and relationships between staff and children, interactions and relationships between staff and parents, environments indoors and outdoors, and child and staff oriented experiences.

It strives to promote children’s growth in five crucial areas: thinking skills, body awareness, social competence, emotional well being, and creative expression.

To encourage community and parent involvement, they’ve invited parents and people from various faculties on campus to bring their expertise to the children. Some examples include learning about science, literature, and how bodies move through dance. Every week, from September to May, a music teacher spends time leading groups of children in fun activities that promote musical literacy. The children are engaged in fingerplays, songs, dance, creative movement, and making their own music with rhythm instruments. Additionally, local children’s entertainers such as magicians and musicians as well as ambassadors from Folklorama enrich the experiences of the children.

In terms of field trips, children are taken for visits to Car Town, the Millennium Library, neighbourhood parks, and to the University of Winnipeg RecPlex Centre to play active games, running, and using the various equipment provided: balls, parachutes, and climbing apparatus, etc.

3. Ontario Tech University - Campus Childcare Centre

Formerly known as UOIT, this is an image of a Ontario Tech University's building during the winter time

Campus Childcare Centre: 202 Simcoe St N, Oshawa, ON L1G 4S9

Ontario Tech University’s child care centre, the Campus Childcare Centre, views children as active learners and has designed a program that facilitates each child's optimal development emotionally, intellectually, physically, and socially.

They offer many activities to facilitate this development: communication activities, drama activities, math activities, motor development activities, music and creative movement activities, science activities, self-help activities, sensory activities, and visual art activities.

Children at the CCC also enjoy fresh, homemade meals and snacks that are prepared on-site each day, following Canada's Food Guide.

4. Brock University - Rosalind Blauer Centre for Child Care

A building on the brock university campus

Rosalind Blauer Centre for Child Care: 1812 Sir Isaac Brock Way, St. Catharines, ON L2S 3A1

Brock University’s child care centre, the Rosalind Blauer Centre, provides a variety of opportunities for children to learn through play.

Based on the theory that children learn through play, classroom routines encourage active involvement, meaningful experimentation and reinforcement through repetition. The program offers a variety of areas for children to explore both indoors and outdoors. Jolly Phonics is an important part of their program.

In addition to the large individual rooms for each age group, the centre also has a separate creative room with a loft in the preschool area, three outdoor playgrounds, an interactive fenced vegetable/fruit garden, an onsite cook who purchases and prepares all of the food served at the centre, forested pathways for walks as well as access to many facilities at the University.

5. McMaster University - Student Union Child Care Centre

mcmaster university building

Child Care Centre - MSU McMaster Students Union: 1145 King Street West, Hamilton, ON L8S 1L9

McMaster University’s child care centre provides quality care to enrich all aspects of development in children in a "home away from home" atmosphere for both the child and the family.

The Centre provides an educational program incorporating the children’s needs and interests. Programming is planned to foster creativity, curiosity, independence, physical activity developing gross and fine motor skills, interaction, communication and respect for others.

The program is based on the Ministry's "How Does Learning Happen" document and the four Foundations of Belonging, Well Being, Expression and Engagement.

The learning centres include the following: dramatic play centre, sensory bin, block centre, creative materials, library centre, playdough centre, science centre, gross motor skills, puzzle centre, shelf toy centre, and a carpentry area.

Community building is encouraged through special events such as: a Child Care Family Picnic in June, a Potluck supper in October and a Holiday Party in December.

6. University of Manitoba - Campus Children's Centre

university of manitoba building

Campus Children's Centre - University of Manitoba: University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, MB R3T 2N2

The University of Manitoba’s child care centre, the Campus Children’s Centre Inc., is theme and emergent based. Rooms touch on aspects of music, drama, literature, art, movement, social studies and science, and relate them to the children’s lives. It has a home-like environment through small item donations made by parents such as ornaments, cultural items, etc.

Some of its main objectives are to: educate children through play, teach children healthy life-skills through play, provide children with opportunities for physical activity, provide inclusive programming, encourage parent involvement and facilitate a parents’ community, to support parents and strengthen families.

A few of their guiding principles are: to be inclusive of all children and strive to meet each child’s unique needs, provide a child-inspired environment where child exploration guides programming, parents are the most important people in a child’s life and respect their choices, children need consistency, stimulation, structure, praise, affection, consequences and independence, etc.

The centre also tries to explore the university where and when possible, including visits to the barns, dentist, doctor or just a walk around the campus.

7. The University of British Columbia - Child Care Services

university of british columbia building

UBC Childcare Services - University of British Columbia: 2881 Acadia Rd, Vancouver, BC V6T 1S1

Currently operating just under six hundred licensed spaces in twenty-five locations on campus, University of British Columbia’s child care services serves as a model for other programs in the province.

Two goals lead their guidance and discipline practices: enhancing children’s sense of personal well-being including belonging, and encouraging children’s sense of social responsibility. A sense of well-being and belonging means that children will feel safe, respected, valued, included and confident. A sense of social responsibility refers to building relationships, to a respect for diversity and to recognizing a connection between their actions and the larger world.

They engage with the arts including music and visual arts, with languages and literacy, with mathematical concepts and numeracy, with physical sciences, with physical activity and bodily kinesthetic knowledge, and with nature/culture understandings. They also use the British Columbia Early Learning Framework as a guide to areas of learning including well-being and belonging, exploration and creativity, languages and literacy and social responsibility and diversity.

Each day includes choice-filled play times and small group experiences punctuated by routines such as snack time, nap time and diaper time, play time indoors and out and opportunities for language and music activities.

8. University of Guelph - Child Care and Learning Centre (CCLC)

University of Guelph building

Child Care & Learning Centre - University of Guelph: 20 Arboretum Rd, Guelph, ON N1G 2W1

The University of Guelph’s child care centre, the Child Care and Learning Centre, provides an exemplary early years environment for toddlers (18 months+) and preschoolers.

They believe that the four foundations of belonging, engagement, wellbeing and expression are the rights of all children and provide the basis of their goals and expectations for their program.

Their programs focus on the following items: approaches to promote health, safety, nutrition and well-being, fostering positive and responsive relationships, supporting exploration, play and inquiry, and supporting family engagement and communication

CCLC staff are supported to make meaningful contributions to the ongoing development and evolution of the program through professional learning provided in the form of onsite pedagogical leadership, attendance in training, workshops and conferences, and support with education.

9. University of Calgary - University Child Care Centre

University of Calgary Architectural building

Child Care | UCCC | University of Calgary: 450 Campus Place NW Calgary, Alberta T2N 1N4

The University of Calgary’s child care centre, the UCCC, believes that play is imperative during the early years of a child's life.

Their programs create a fun filled and engaging learning experience for each child while fostering self confidence in social skills, language development, and independence.

Their toddler outdoor play spaces are developmentally appropriate and encourage the children to learn and explore in the outdoors as well as indoors. These play yards look onto other outdoor play areas and many beautiful green spaces nearby and right outside their doors.

A music program and a children’s gardening program are offered to benefit children with music enrichment and community building and environmental stewardship.

Additionally, they offer a Fit Kids program which is a large muscle program aimed at encouraging children to have a lifelong interest in physical activity. Children are also taken on walks to explore the environment and get lots of physical activity into each day.

10. Dalhousie University - The University Children's Centre

Dalhousie University building

University Children's Centre - Dalhousie University: 6101 South, Halifax, NS B3H 1T2

The Dalhouise University child care centre, University Children’s Centre, is an award-winning non-profit organization that provides high-quality, affordable childcare.

Through its emergent curriculum, it focuses on the following developments: language, social and emotional, physical, cognitive, and creative. It incorporates portfolios which documents development and participation through photos and anecdotal notes.

Frequent trips to the Dalplex Pool and Dalhousie University (Studley) gym facilities allow children to experience more of the outdoors and take advantage of the resources and facilities on campus.

11. Simon Fraser University - SFU Childcare Society

Simon Fraser University building

SFU Childcare Society - Simon Fraser University: 8888 University Drive, Burnaby, BC V5A 1S6

Inspired by the practice of infant/toddler and pre-schools in Reggio Emilia, Italy, Simon Fraser University’s child care centre, the SFU Childcare Society, pays close attention to the aesthetics of the centre’s setting.

They believe the environment is a participant in the learning process of the children. Their facilities are specifically built for the provision of childcare where each program has its own dedicated indoor and outdoor play space.

Each Infant/Toddler program has its own separate outdoor space that provides numerous opportunities for growth and physical development – rain or shine.

12. Queen's University - Day Care Centre

Queen's university building

Queen's Day Care Centre - Queen's University: 184 Union St W Kingston, ON K7L 2P6

Queen’s University’s child care centre, the Queen's Day Care Centre has full and part time daycare spaces for 47 children daily ranging in age from birth to 4 years on Main Campus and 33 children on West Campus at An Clachan.

The Day Care centre seeks to: reduce barriers for parents to attend/work at Queen's University, provide care and education for children from birth to 6 years of age, supplement and complement parental care and values, ensure parental input in the delivery of child care, nurture an appreciation and respect of human diversity, and promote excellence in the field of child care.

All teaching staff at Queen's Day Care Centre have a minimum of a degree or diploma in Early Childhood Education (ECE) or an equivalent. All ECE staff are also registered members of our professional body The Ontario College of Early Childhood Educators.

13. University of Toronto Scarborough - N'sheemaehn Child Care Centre

university of toronto scarborough utsc building

N'sheemaehn Child Care Centre - UTSC - 1255 Military Trail Toronto, ON M1C1A5

UTSC's N'sheemaehn Child Care Centre focuses on capitalizing on the rich cultural mix of the Toronto community and to encourage an appreciation for the multicultural nature of Canadian society.

They incorporate activities which make use of the natural environment of the University, such as gardening, and nature walks, to instill a love and respect for nature in their children.

They also incorporate indoor and outdoor play, as well as active play, rest and quiet time, into the day, and give consideration to the individual needs of the children receiving care.

In addition, they collaborate with community partners i.e. UTSC, Campus Police, Pet Therapy Dog program, Special Needs Resource Consultants, Speech and Language, Community Colleges, Consultants, Ministry of Education Specialists, Toronto Children’s Services Consultants, Public Health, QAA’s, Ministry of Labour etc. to provide support to the children, their families and staff.

14. Mount Royal University - Child Care Centre

mount royal university building on campus

Child Care - Mount Royal University: 4825 Mt Royal Gate SW, Calgary, AB T3E 6K6

Mount Royal University’s child care centre’s mission is to create a caring community in which all children can grow and develop in a healthy, safe environment supported by educated professionals.

Their program is a play-based program meaning that opportunities for learning takes place throughout the day during structured and unstructured, active and quiet, indoor and outdoor activities.

Indoor play centres such as: Blocks, Dramatic Play, Science, Library, Art, Water, Sand, and Manipulatives Area are set up in each play room to meet the developmental needs of all children enrolled, and are geared for their specific age group. Physical Activities are provided both mornings and afternoons, either outdoors in one of two play areas or in various gyms on campus.

All of their programs offer high quality care evidenced in programming, facility opportunities, foods served, as well as highly trained and educated staff; while having a low turnaround both with regards to children and staff. All of their staff possess a minimum of a Level 3 in Early Childhood (Diploma or Degree), First Aid and CPR Certificate and cleared Criminal Record Checks.

The child care program has also been accredited since 2005 and currently maintains a high standard of excellence- as recognized by the Government of Alberta.

15. MacEwan University - Early Learning at MacEwan

macewan university building onc ampus

Early Learning at MacEwan - MacEwan University: Grant MacEwan University Room 7-153, City Centre Campus 10700 – 104 Avenue

MacEwan University’s child care centre, Early Learning at MacEwan, offers quality and supportive child care education and services in Edmonton, for children aged 19 months through six years.

Their programs focus on outdoor play, responsive environments, and seeing children as mighty learners.

Children get outside twice a day as the centre believes that playing outdoors every day in all kinds of weather helps children create habits that will lead to a healthy, active life.

The children are the centre of the curriculum. Projects are developed and expanded based on the interests and curiosities of the children and can last a few days or several months.

Children are encouraged to express their ideas and opinions, to solve problems, and build relationships with their peers and educators. Children are also encouraged to express their creativity in many ways.

Top Canadian University Daycares Evaluation

SchoolsPriceMeal providedPrioritize student enrolmentOn CampusChild:Educator Ratio (Toddlers)Hours OpenStudent Parent BusariesSchool Resource Centre
McGill University - Childcare Centre$200/monthYYY5:111NoneY
University of Winnipeg - Students' Association Day Care$416/monthNYY5:111NoneY
Ontario Tech University - Campus Childcare Centre $898/monthYYN5:112NoneY
Brock University - Rosalind Blauer Centre for Child Care$896/monthYYY5:110.5NoneNone
McMaster University - Student Union Child Care Centre$1002/monthYYY5:110.5NoneNone
University of Manitoba - Campus Children's Centre$416/month (>2 yrs old), $600/month (<2 yrs old)YYY6:110.25NoneNone
The University of British Columbia - Child Care Services$416/monthNYY4:110.25NoneY
University of Guelph - Child Care and Learning Centre (CCLC) $1101/monthYYY5:110NoneNone
University of Calgary - University Child Care Centre$1185/monthYYY6:110YNone
Dalhousie University - The University Children's Centre$800/monthYYY5:19.5NoneNone
Simon Fraser University - SFU Childcare Society$980/monthYYY4:19.5YNone
Queen's University - Day Care Centre$1160/monthYYY5:19.75NoneY
University of Toronto Scarborough - N’sheemaehn Child Care Centre$1373/monthYYY5:110.5NoneNone
Mount Royal University - Child Care Centre$1125/monthYYY5:111YNone
MacEwan University - Early Learning at MacEwan$550/monthYYY6:110YY

Congratulations to the listed universities above for enabling academic success to student parents by allowing balance in their school and parenting life.


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