MY CHILDCARE SERVICES
The philosophy is simple - happy, healthy children by giving them the opportunity to be children.
As both a parent and childcare provider, I have a firm belief that children thrive best when they are given endless quantities of love and the freedom to be a child. Providing an environment that offers a balance between the consistency children need to feel safe while also being sufficiently unstructured that children have the space and time to explore the world around them is key to this philosophy. Large structured daycares simply aren’t conducive to this - the logistics make it difficult to do. Within a small care environment, however, children and their changing needs are intimately understood by a single loving individual who has an innate understanding of who they are and where they are in their development. This allows individual personalities to grow and blossom.
By exposing children to a large variety of learning experiences I allow them to gain a sense of the world around us. I value their own uniqueness, providing support and the opportunities to grow emotionally, socially and creatively. Building upon each child’s strengths and curiosities, I help them develop new abilities along with the confidence to be themselves.
Most importantly of all, I use love as a foundation in everything we do. Children within my care quickly understand that above all else, I will love them for exactly who they are.
Part of every day and everything we do, imaginative play is as natural to children as it is unnatural to adults. Tea parties, teddy socials, imaginative cooking, puppet shows, baby care, dress up and fashion shows, train tracks and cars ... we do it all ... and then some more on top of that.
Art is a mainstay and takes place regularly, especially during the cooler seasons. An endless array of crafting, painting and visual arts, hair design, face painting, nail salons and more. I have a designated craft room in the basement that allows for large messes to be made and the freedom to have fun.
Music is an integral part of what we do. We have both a grand piano and guitar that are regularly put to use for music time at home. This is extended even further with baby and toddler music classes that provide the wonderfully social aspect of music to enhance their minds and lives.
Having grown up out of the city, nature is my favourite place to find calm. We take many outings to conservation areas where we hike, play, explore and become one with the wonder of nature. Often spending full days outside, we'll picnic and nap in the shade of a tree with bird songs as our backdrop. During any season, you'll find us in nature.
Near and dear to my heart, I love a good adventure. We take trips throughout the GTA and well beyond that too, including the Zoo, ROM, AGO, Science Centre, Wonderland, Aquarium, Lion Safari, playgrounds, parks and many more. We cycle up, down and all around the city, to the island and just about anywhere we can ride. There is little we don't do.
Regular local walks along with outdoor and indoor playgrounds, physical games, swimming and sports activities combined with a myriad of other outdoor and indoor activities ensure that physical play is a constant in my care. That being said, we'll also happily stay home and enjoy a lazy day too. As always, we like balance in our activities.
I understand the importance of social interaction for the kids (and me too!) I'm highly active in the community and parent circles, regularly attend baby and toddler meetups and arrange regular playdates and outings with others. Indoor and outdoor classes and local community playgrounds also become a hub for social play.
I incorporate scheduled programs into a our weekly plans on a regular basis. Music, dance, art and gymnastics are just some of the options we like to explore. We take advantage of FunGuide opportunities where possible, but tend to prefer professionally planned opportunities for better consistency and adaptability of kids ages.
Education takes place in everything that we do, but dedicated time is certainly given to focused educational learning. It will vary depending on the season and weather, with more focus given in the colder months. Sorting sizes, learning colours and shapes, practicing numbers, the alphabet and all that good stuff is covered.
FREE & GUIDED PLAY
FOODS THAT FEED
AGES OF CARE
In amongst all of this play, there will be times I'm guiding the activity, times that the children are leading, and times the children play on their own. We also incorporate many everyday activities into what we do, such as preparing food, baking, cleaning, reading, cuddling and relaxing. It's part of what makes home care so great.
I provide a balanced healthy diet comprising of home cooked meals and snacks, including custom prepared (and carefully planned) baby foods for infants. That being said, we won't hesitate to have "naughty" quick foods and goodies while out on our adventures knowing that for the most part, we're eating healthy foods from home.
I have experience caring for infants of any age up until they start school. In fact, I actually prefer to begin with children under 12 months old as the transitions are naturally seamless and the bond created is inherently strong. That said, I'm adept at beginning with children of any age and when paternal leave is finished is most common.
HOURS AND PRICING
I provide parents with a 10 hour window of care each day, beginning as early as 7:30am and ending as late as 6:30pm. My standard daily rate is $100 per child, which includes snacks, lunch, wet wipes, diaper cream (but not diapers), and the majority of expenses related to our adventures. Breakfast and dinner can also be included at an extra cost if needed. Sibling rates are also available but vary depending on the ages of the children.
For a family with one child, my daily rate should offer some savings over a traditional nanny and be comparable to a high-end daycare. The children within my care are my entire focus and I provide plenty of extra value in the outings we undertake. I won't hesitate to spend money on the children just as if they are my own - from face painting to unique experiences - it's part of what you pay for. Programmed classes such as music, dance and gymnastics, are NOT covered by my fee and would be discussed and approved with parents in advance - after which I'll organize and book.
Discipline would be discussed in detail with each family prior to childcare starting. As a general foundation for my approach to discipline, I observe the following:
No child will be hit, spanked, belittled, or otherwise intimidated. At no time will a child be subjected to physical punishment or shaming, frightening or humiliating methods, or any type of verbal abuse, threats, derogatory remarks, or deprivation of a meal. Children will be treated with courtesy, respect, and patience. Discipline will be according to age and maturity level. Younger children, babies and toddlers, will be redirected to another activity. If a child develops a persistent behavioral problem, I will address it with you and we will try to resolve it together.
Notwithstanding the above, I expect the children under my care to be polite, respectful of others, and to demonstrate manners and common courtesy. While managing multiple kids, it is important they develop a respect for the boundaries that I create. This will be encouraged and taught on a continuous basis throughout each day. On outings, I expect kids to listen well, follow instructions, and remain close by. I give warnings in a clear and firm manner, and always follow through. Discipline through consequence is common with me. For example, if a child has been warned to stop a particular behavior but continues to do so, the consequence may be that the child will have to sit out of the current activity.
In all of my time providing childcare, I rarely have issues with behaviour. Understanding and setting realistic expectations goes a long way in creating an environment of mutual respect. That being said, I hold high expectations of the children in my care for safety, manners and common courtesies.
Whatever the options for child care are, there are two choices I find very difficult to accept. One would be where my baby was looked after by a lot of different people, and the other would be a setting where a single person looked after many different babies. I believe that fragmented care in the early years can lead to a fragmented personality later on. It is through a strong relationship with one main caregiver in infancy and toddlerhood that a child can best develop a strong sense of self and later become capable of forming healthy relationships with others.
Most striking, in many hunter-gatherer cultures, parents build a relationship with young children that is markedly different than the one we foster here in the U.S. – it's one that's built on cooperation instead of conflict, trust instead of fear, and personalized needs instead of standardized development milestones.