We say down with Kathleen Baggio, a home daycare provider, so that we could inform parents when seeking the right childcare setting for their little ones.
1. What are the differences between a home day care and a child care centre?
The main difference is that a Home Daycare is just that – it is HOME. It isn’t in an institutional type environment, that can be at times, overwhelming for a child. Home daycare tends to be less structured than a childcare centre. There is more free play and self-expression, and taking the cue from the child as opposed to being on a tight schedule, and having to perform certain tasks at certain times throughout the day.
2. What are the benefits of sending children to a home day care?
Here are a few benefits of home daycare. There are smaller groups in home daycare, so more focus is on the child as an individual. There is more freedom throughout the day for spontaneity, instead of a full structured day filled with strictly adhered to day-to-day schedules. Home daycare can feel more comfortable to a child; they often have their own room for nap times with all their own items from home.
3. Do home daycares follow a curriculum?
Each home daycare provider is different, but in my home I am big on free play, working on fine motor skills, manners, sharing and respecting one another. For the older children who are before-and-after-school age, we work on their homework (if need be), crafts and free play. They have been in school all day and I like to make their time here full of laughter, which brings on a sense of belonging.
4. What should parents look for when deciding on a home day care?
There are licensed home daycares and non-licensed home daycares. Although BOTH have to stick to the “Day Nurseries Act” rules (Ontario), one is monitored while the other is not. Having said that, parents need to have an interview with the provider and listen to their gut. I like the parents to bring the child(ren) to the interview, that way the child can experience the daycare space, and everyone can start to feel comfortable right from the get go. Let’s be honest, parents are leaving their children in Daycare for upwards of 9-10 hours, so they had better like the provider they decide to go with, as this person will have a HUGE impact on the child’s development.
5. How do you handle sickness or illness with children at your daycare?
As with any school or daycare, parents will be called from work to come and get their child if he/she is not well. Since I am the only adult, if I get ill I’d have to shut down – which would affect all the families – so keeping contagious children at home is key.
6. Do you think home daycares offer better nutrition/meals than daycare centres?
Here is the thing – kids are picky. They tend to have this tone set at home (sorry this is true, even for my own 2 kids). I NEVER force a child to eat something that they don’t like, however I encourage them to try and reward them with praise when they do try. Three cheers for (Jack) Hip Hip Hooray, and so the next time they are to try something it is easier as we’ve made it fun.
7. Are home daycares less expensive than daycare centres?
It can really go either way. I looked into this a few years back and a home daycare in Toronto, for example, for an infant was $300 a week with a waiting list, while up towards the Orangeville area it was $175 a week. A HUGE difference!
8. What sort of things would encourage you to unenroll a child from your daycare?
Over the course of my career helping to raise over 80 children, I have only ever had to do this once. I recognised some odd behaviour in a child that I knew wasn’t something I was prepared to take on. Some red flags went up for me and I had to think of the well-being of the entire group, as well as my business.
9. How important is the communication or updates you receive from parents about their children?
Communication is very important! In my contract I state that pick up and drop off times don’t always allow for updates, and that if they require a discussion they should – and are encouraged to – book a mutual time to do so. I often send text messages with photos of neat things that happen throughout the day. Makes Moms and Dads feel connected, and they truly appreciate it.
10. Why do you love being a home daycare provider?
This question made me smile. There are so many reasons why I love my job. I am thrilled when I see the kids reach mile stones and how happy they are to show me something that they have worked really hard to accomplish. It makes me happy when they get picked up my parents and don’t want to leave, that’s a good indicator to you Moms and Dads that your kids are in a good place.
Having said that, there are some downfalls to the job as well. For example: as I am watching your children I am usually missing MY child’s milestones, concerts, football games, Dr.’s appointment etc. My husband gets to do all those things with them. But I have been home for my kids every day when they get home from school and for that I am grateful.
Kathleen Baggio was a big business owner selling to the likes of Walmart and a mother of two, who wanted to be home for her children and work at the same time. She wasn’t seeing her kids, because she was too busy working. So, she decided to become a home daycare provider, and turn her back on the corporate world. Her family moved to the country and her handy husband turned their huge garage into a daycare. He hand painted Disney characters throughout the room, making it fun and cozy for the children. Kathleen has worked with many families over the years and has had some children with her from the age of 1, until they could be at home on their own. Being a home daycare provider is very rewarding yet challenging at times; but the benefits far out weight the challenging times.