The Need for Daycare

Did you know that only 20% of kids have access to quality, licenced childcare (i.e. daycare centers).  There are home daycares available but you have to be careful with these as they do not have the same standards as daycare centers.

Waiting lists in Regina for infant spots range from 200-300.  The length of these lists gets shorter as the child gets older.

Parents only get 12 months, maximum of maternity leave.  However, infant spots (0-18 months) are the hardest to get.  If the government wants people to go back to work at 12 months, they need to find some way to make these spots available, not to mention cheaper.  Cost will be another topic.


Information From Other Daycares

Over the past 2 years, I have talked to two daycares in Regina and one in Balgonie.  This is the information I have garnered for daycare centers (not home daycares):

  • Spots are allocated by the provincial government – up to 300 per year for ALL of Saskatchewan.  (None have been allocated over the past couple years except to special projects like the P3 schools.)
  • You have to submit a Letter of Intent to even be considered for spots.  Spots are only allocated once a year (March/April).
  • You can’t get spots unless you have a building and are ready to go.
  • You can’t get spots unless you have an inspection of the building/premise.
  • Rent on buildings is crazy – thousands of dollars per month depending on the space or area.  We would need to have at least 2 months of  rent in the bank in order to have renovations and inspections done.  Before we get spots.
  • 75 spots is the minimum you want to try to get – in order to break even.  90 is the max you can have in one facility.  You can have more than 1 facility in a building.
  • Before and after care spots (for Grade 1 & up) do not count as “spots.”
  • Infant spots do not make money.  They do not even break even.  There are really strict rules surrounding infant spots.
  • There are very specific regulations around spots in general including how much space, green space, toilets, food prep, staff, etc.
  • A certain percentage of your staff has to have their ECE (Early Childhood Education).  Not very many people hold this or are pursuing it.  And anyone can raise a child or have a home daycare without this training.
  • We have to fundraise start up costs – around $15,000.  Or take a personal loan (which is not feasible).
  • We can’t get a business loan until the daycare has been running for 2 years minimum.
  • Purchasing a building?  Don’t even go there.  Even empty, abandoned buildings (that may not be structurally safe) are over $1 million.
  • The city will not donate or work with a daycare to re-purpose one of their buildings.  For example, one of the schools in North Central is not being used.  It’s listed for $3.2 million.  It would be perfect for a daycare but we can’t afford to purchase it.
  • For profit daycares do not get access to any grants (in Saskatchewan).  In other provinces, they still have access to grants.

Needless to say, it may be a while before we get this daycare off the ground.  On the positive side, we are trying.  We are leading the way to, hopefully, make a new daycare in Regina.


Fundraising becomes of utmost importance when there is no funding available from the government for the establishment of a daycare.  In 2016, Totally Kids Daycare Inc. has run several fundraisers – a 50/50 draw, charm sales, crotchet animals, Tupperware, bake sales, an Applebee’s Pancake Breakfast, a (really fun) Paint Nite, and (currently) – a raffle for an autographed Darian Durant print and an Indigo (Chapters) gift card fundraiser.  We have raised over $8000 this year alone.  Not bad for a board of 5.

Oh, and we are a charity, so we can issue tax receipts for any individual/corporate donations.

When property taxes more than double, established daycares can either raise fees, cut programs, or fundraise.

Support your local daycares when they bring a fundraiser to you – whether they are trying to set up a new daycare or continue an existing daycare – these services are vital.

A Horror Story – The Need for Quality Daycare

Originally published in June 2014 in The Busy Signal.

For those of you who have children, I’m curious—how many of you have quality, accessible childcare?

At Prairie School for Union Women (PSUW), I learned that only 11.5% of children age 5 and under have access to regulated childcare! That was a 2012 stat and I don’t believe it has gotten any better.

Waiting lists in Regina have 200-300 children on them— the ones I have my name on. And when these centers only have a turn around of 10 children PER YEAR, it makes me wonder how anyone finds care when they need it.

Children under 18 months are the hardest to find childcare for because you can only have 3 infants per adult. When women get only 12 months of maternity leave, that leaves 6 months where they may be struggling (even more) for someone to watch their children.

Then there is the matter of unlicensed care, which all-to-often consists of setting the child in front of a TV.

I went to see a place in my neighborhood. The house was small to begin with. The area where the children were kept consisted of 1 playroom (half full of toys stacked up the wall and in the crib), a small kitchen, bathroom, and living/dining room combo. The children were not allowed anywhere else in the house. And the backyard was off limits because the lady said she put a pool back there. However, I noticed a large amount of garbage stacked along the back fence as I walked up.

The lady said she had anywhere from 3 to 20 children in her care. (Apparently her teenage son, who was glued to the TV while we were there, was one of her ‘helpers.’)

I couldn’t leave the house fast enough.

Gardening to Teach

With the rising cost of vegetables, it makes sense to grow your own food.  This relates to daycares as well.  At Totally Kids Daycare Inc, we will be using raised garden beds to supplement food.

Gardening is not only practical, it presents a teaching opportunity as well.  Children can learn how plants grow – what they need – the circle of life.  They learn responsibility by watering and weeding the garden beds.  And they have fun digging in the dirt, finding earth worms, and watching the plants grow.

The excitement on a child’s face as they show off their home grown vegetables is priceless.  My son was very excited to pull carrots, wash them and eat them right out of the garden.

Gardening is not always successful.  We have had really good luck with squash, peas, carrots, however, we have not been overly successful with our watermelons or pumpkins but we will succeed eventually.  It’s a learning process for the kids as well as the adults.

We look forward to making stone soup with our vegetables once the center is set up.

Outdoor Teaching

We teach our kids how to use computers, clean their room and how to catch Pokemon. Many children, however, are missing some fundamental learning in the forms of outdoor learning:

  • Where do worms live? How do they eat?
  • What happens when you plant a seed?
  • How do you start a fire in a fire pit?
  • How do ant communities compare to human communities?
  • How does the life cycle of a tree compare to the human life cycle?

Things that even adults might not know but would be good to teach our children:

  • How do you snare a rabbit?
  • How do you catch, kill, pluck and gut a chicken?
  • How do you catch a fish and prepare it?
  • How do you cook a meal over a fire?
  • How to cook a turkey in the ground?
  • What is compost and how do we do it?

There is so much to learn outside.  At Totally Kids Daycare Inc., it is one of our goals to use the outdoors to teach our children.  There is so much to learn!

Structured Play Time

Play is important to children.  Structured play is different than free play. It’s more organised and happens at a fixed time or in a set space, and is often led by a grown-up.

Examples of structured play include:

  • water familiarisation classes for toddlers, or swimming lessons for older children – you might see these as being important lessons for your child, but she might just think they’re fun
  • storytelling groups for toddlers and preschoolers at the local library
  • dance, music or drama classes for children of all ages
  • family board or card games
  • modified sports for slightly older children, such as T-Ball, Community Soccer, no-contact football, and street hockey.

Sometimes structured playtime becomes overly competitive.  This is something I struggle with.  I like my child to be in structured activities but sometimes I find the parents become too controlling and they drive their child to be competitive.  This takes the carefree spirit out of play and adds stress to the child.

If you have your child in organized sports, be sure to encourage play for the sake of play and don’t inflict adult rules such as winning on them.  :0)

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Free Play Time

Children love to play.  The good news is, this is something really good for them.  It promotes creativity and imagination.  Development includes physical, emotional and cognitive.  Free play time is one of the ways children play.

Play also helps your child:

  • build confidence
  • feel loved, happy and safe
  • develop social skills, language and communication
  • learn about caring for others and the environment
  • develop physical skills
  • connect and refine pathways in his/her brain.

Unstructured, free play is the best type of play for young children.

This is play that just happens, depending on what takes your child’s interest at the time. Free play isn’t planned and lets your child use her imagination and move at her own pace.

Examples of unstructured play might be:

  • creative play alone or with others, including artistic or musical games
  • imaginative games – for example, making cubby houses with boxes or blankets, dressing up, playing make-believe
  • exploring new or favourite play spaces such as cupboards, backyards, parks, playgrounds and so on.

You can be part of your child’s unstructured play – or not. Sometimes all you’ll need to do is point him/her in the right direction – towards the jumble of dress-ups and toys on his floor, or to the table with crayons and paper. Sometimes you might need to be a bit more active. For example, ‘How about we play dress-ups? What do you want to be today?’

There is no structure to free play.  It is not adult-driven like organized sports or dance.  Adults can still supervise and even partake in the play but it is child-driven.  It helps children learn how to work together and discover their own interests.  Children learn to create and follow their own rules.  They do it without concerns of winning.

Let your kid be a kid and join them on their terms!
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Have You Ever?

I have some questions I would like to ask you.  Have you ever:

  • Driven or been in a car? Driven or been driven on a road?  Driven or been driven on a highway?  (Doesn’t matter if it’s gravel, paved, potholed or not.)
  • Driven over a bridge?
  • Parked at a parking meter? Gotten a parking ticket?
  • Used/obeyed traffic/walk lights?
  • Walked on a sidewalk?  Driven on a bike path? Used public transit?
  • Owned a health card? Used a doctor?  Gotten a prescription?  Given birth? Had your child immunized?  Been immunized yourself?  Had a flu shot?  Had an MRI, CAT scan, ultrasound, blood work?  Been in surgery for any reason?  Called the Health Line?
  • Used childcare?  Used subsidized childcare?
  • Used elder care, home care, nursing homes, etc?
  • Used a government social program – disability, social services, pension, child tax benefits?  Filed your taxes?
  • Been to elementary or high school?  Had a child/parent/etc. go to elementary or high school?  Attended post-secondary?  Had a student loan forgiven?
  • Gone to a public pool?  Walked in a public park?  Walked around Wascana?
  • Gone to the library? Gone to a library program?  Taken your children to a library program?
  • Admired the flowers on the meridians?
  • Admired any sculpture on public property?
  • Used water/sewage in any way? Drank water? Used a toilet? Used a washing machine? Used sprinklers?
  • Used a program put on by a Community Association?
  • Owned a house?  Transferred a Land Title?  Had land rezoned?  Bought other real estate?
  • Gone to court?  Been married?  Been divorced?  Been in a custody battle? Used a court service for any reason?
  • Used a service at City Hall?  Attended an event at City Hall (I love Regina days, for example)?
  • Received any funding from the City?  Grants, sponsorships, etc.
  • Voted (in any election or referendum)?
  • Contacted your City Councillor, MLA, or MP?
  • Called the police?  Used any police services?  Got a criminal record check?
  • Used the stadium?  Skate park?  Any other public facility?

If you have answered “yes” to ANY question on this list (and I guarantee you have), you have used a PUBLIC SERVICE.  Guess how public services are funded?  With tax dollars!  *shock* *awe* *gasp*

I hear a lot of people talk about taxes and publicly funded programs.  If you have answered yes to any question on this list, you are guilty of being a drain on the taxpayers’ dollar.

We all must pay our fair share of taxes because we all use public funded programs in one way or another.  If you disagree and can prove you’ve never used any of this, I’d be curious to know how.

Green Space

The following information is cited from The Child Care Regulations, 2015.

Childcare centers, unlike home daycares, have to have a certain amount of green space (aka “outdoor play area”) available to the center based on the number of children the space is licensed for:

59(1) The licensee of a centre must provide a safe outdoor play area of seven square metres per licensed child care space.

(2) Unless otherwise provided in the licence, at least half of the outdoor play area required by subsection (1) must be adjacent to the centre and the remainder must be within walking distance of the centre, determined in relation to the youngest age category for which the centre is licensed. 

That being said, the one saving grace is that if there is a public use space (park or school), the daycare center can get an exemption.  For example, with the building on 12th Ave and St. John, the vacant lot behind the center would have only supplied 50% of the green space requirement but there were 2 public spaces (Pepsi Park and Thomson Community School) within 500m so we would have been granted an exemption.