As a parent, and especially as a newcomer in a new country, one of the most pressing concerns after you find employment is looking for childcare for your children. Landing in a new country, without the comfort of a familiar support network, means having to arrange childcare that you can trust and rely on. In Calgary, you will have to go through the following steps to find good childcare:
Use the Child Care Lookup Tool available on the Government of Alberta website. The tool allows you to search for an early childhood development program by postal code, more than one age category, more than one search criteria box for a program type, as well as a program type and child range so that all centres offering child care in those ranges appear.
Please bear in mind that childcare service fees vary according to the child’s age. Each Childcare Centre/ Daycare centre is different and their services may also vary. For example, when a child reaches the age of four before March 1, they are entitled to start kindergarten in September of the same calendar year. Some childcare centres only serve children in kindergarten and do not provide after school care for older children, just as others only serve children who have not yet started school. If you have more than one child, take the different services offered by your local childcare centres into account to allow for your convenience as well as your schedule.
Try to estimate the cost of childcare before you need it. According to an article in Moneysense, the average cost every month for childcare in Alberta is as follows:
|Province||0 to 18 months||18 to 30 months||30 months to kindergarten age|
Should both parents work, and keeping in mind the estimate above, try saving up for childcare fees before you need childcare, in order to make it easier on your finances when the time comes.
Following the list obtained from using the Child Care Lookup Tool in Step a), list your preferred childcare and childminding services. Do your own research and ask for recommendations to good childcare centres through Facebook community pages and online parent forums.
Once you have created your list, make appointments and visit the preferred childcare centres on your list. Each childcare centre may be different, so remember to take into account their method of education (such as the Montessori method, Steiner/Waldorf method. etc), after-hours care and availability, additional costs (if any), meal plans, how many children they take care of and their transportation facilities (for older kids). Once you have found a childcare centre that meets as many of your needs as possible, you can be assured that your children will have a safe and productive place to stay while you work or are away.
CIES Guides are a volunteer-led project made possible through contributions from the community.
Thanks to Elyza Noordeen and Tanis Hykaway for help with this guide. If you want to suggest a correction to this guide, or want to submit one of your own, please contact us.