Parent Handbook - CKW YMCA

Parent Handbook

Welcome to YMCA Licensed Child Care

Our centres are licensed by the Province of Ontario and adhere to all regulations and standards set out by the Child Care and Early Years Act. Learn more about child care in Ontario.

All licensed programs have Fee Subsidy agreements with the Region of Waterloo Children Services Division.  Local health units and Fire Departments inspect the facilities regularly.

We work hard to provide every child the best possible start.

Table of Contents 

  1. YMCA Program Statement
  2. Caring Qualified Staff
  3. Registration and Operational Information
    1. Programs and Ages Served
    2. Hours of Operation
    3. Closures and Inclement Weather
    4. Fees
    5. Vacation Entitlement
    6. Service Termination
  4. Daily Routine
    1. Arrival/Departure Expectations
      1. Parking and Drop-off Zones
    2. Release of Children
    3. Absence
    4. Children's Belongings
    5. Walking and Learning Trips - Off Premises
  5. Child Guidance
    1. Prohibited Practices
  6. Health and Well-being
    1. Inclusion
    2. Nutrition
      1. Menu Samples
    3. Illness
    4. Administration of Medications
    5. Accidents and Injuries
    6. Other Emergencies
    7. Serious Occurrence Reporting Requirements
  7. Parent/Family Engagement and Communications
    1. Accessible Complaints Procedure


YMCA Program Statement

Welcome to YMCA licensed child care. YMCA Child Care is committed to supporting your child to grow to their fullest potential in a safe, caring and nurturing environment. Our program statement describes how our programs support and foster early learning. It also outlines our view of the child, our philosophy and pedagogy as well as the goals and approaches used to ensure healthy child development.

Our Program Statement - reflects the goals and approaches we use to ensure healthy child development together with how we view children as capable, competent, curious and rich in potential. 

The YMCA Program Statement is reviewed annually to ensure it is aligned with the Minister of Education's Policy Statement.

The YMCA has a well-established, research based approach to early learning. Our curriculum,

YMCA Playing to Learn has been successfully implemented in all programs for children 0-6 since 2007. YMCA Playing to Learn 2nd Edition was published in 2015. This edition incorporates new research, best practices, knowledge and experience. There is more information on infants and toddlers and it has greater focus on the social and emotional development of young children. The YMCA launched our school age curriculum,  A Place to Connect for children 5-12 in 2014. Both YMCA curricula are aligned with  How Does Learning Happen? Ontario's Pedagogy for the Early Years.

Monitoring Practices

The YMCA implements a wide range of monitoring practices to ensure the goals and approaches described in the program statement are implemented. Our Program Implementation and Prohibited Practices document outlines the roles and responsibilities for monitoring to ensure the goals and approaches in the program statement are being implemented. It also includes practices that are never permitted in a YMCA Program.  

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Caring Qualified Staff

Our dedicated educators are qualified professionals carefully chosen through a selection process designed to determine their ability to meet the needs of children, to support parents and to meet the expectations of the YMCA.

Our Educators have either attained their Early Childhood Education diploma or equivalent. All Early Childhood Educators are required to be registered with the College of Early Childhood Educators the professional self-regulatory body for registered early childhood educators (RECEs) in Ontario.  RECEs must renew their membership with the College on an annual basis and remain in good standing. The College's role is to protect the public interest by setting requirements for registration to practise as an RECE, setting ethical and professional standards and holding RECEs accountable for their practice.

All staff have completed a Police Vulnerable Sector Check which is renewed every three years.

The YMCA is committed to the ongoing professional development of all our Educators.

After all, what the educator learns informs practice and the benefit is passed onto the children.

YMCA Educators attend a series of YMCA curriculum training sessions throughout their career with the YMCA. YMCA Educators mentor and coach to develop other educators based on their learning needs. Additionally the YMCA provides opportunities for Educators to attend external learning events and conferences and keep legislated training requirements like Standard First Aid & Infant and Child CPR up to date.

Volunteers and Students

From time to time, there will be volunteers and students at our centres. YMCA Educators monitor and coach volunteers and students with the approaches set out in our Program statement. Their role is to enhance and assist in program activities and at no time will they have unsupervised access to children or be counted in our staffing ratios.

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Registration and Operational Information

Parents will express the intent to register for care through the Waterloo Regions coordinated waitlist system, OneList.

The centre supervisor will notify you when a space becomes available and place your child into the program off the OneList system.

The supervisor will give a tour and conduct an intake meeting with families before admission to a YMCA program. A secure electronic system called Child Care Pro is used to support the management of information including registration, communication and invoicing processes.  

Wait List Management

Programs and Ages Served

We serve infant, toddler, preschool, and school aged children. For programs and specifics on age categories served, check out our Programs page.

Hours of Operation

YMCA Child Cares provide care Monday to Friday, 7 am - 6 pm, 51 weeks of the year. The centre will be closed for approximately one week between Christmas and New Year's Day. Dates will be posted.

YMCA School Age Youth Development (SAYD) programs provide care Monday to Friday, 7 am to morning school bell and school dismissal to 6 pm. YMCA SAYD programs do not operate in the summer months.

Closures and Inclement Weather

Most centres offer full day child care options on Professional Activity Days. Check with your Centre for details.

If a centre will be closed due to inclement weather or unexpected circumstances the information will be broadcast through an email from your centre via Child Care Pro.

Should the centre need to close during the day, parents will be notified and staff will remain on site until you can arrive to pick up your child.

The centre will be closed:

New Year's Day
Family Day
Good Friday
Easter Monday
Victoria Day
Canada Day
Civic Holiday
Labour Day
Thanksgiving Day
Christmas Day
Boxing Day


Fees are calculated monthly based on registered days of care. Electronic invoices are sent via email through a secure electronic system called Child Care Pro and paid through a pre authorized payment plan. Fees will be charged to your credit card or debited from your account on the 15th or the 15th and 30th of each month as authorized by the payer.  

There will be no reduction of fees for absence due to illness, inclement weather and unexpected centre closure.

Vacation Entitlement

For children enrolled in Infant Toddler or Prescool programs holidays are based on a January- December calendar year. Children registered less than 6 months are entitled to one week in which fees are not required.  (based on the number of days registered per week). Children registered for more than 6 months receive two weeks per calendar year (based on the number of days registered per week).

For children enrolled in Kindergarten or School Age programs there is no vacation entitlement. These programs operate Before and Afterschool from September until June. At the end of June your enrolment ends. Registration for full day programs on school clsorure days and summer programs is based on your need, families only pay if care is requested on these days.  

Service Termination

YMCA Child Care requires one month written notice for permanent withdrawal from care or change in care requirements. Full program fees will be levied if sufficient notice is not provided.

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Daily Routine

Your child's health and development is a high priority in YMCA Child Care centres. At the YMCA, we know and understand that all children are individuals who have different needs and interests.

Arrival/Departure Expectations

We are required to keep a daily attendance record for each child which shows the times of arrival and departure, as well as the absence of children.

Parents must escort their child to a staff on duty when they arrive each day and touchbase with a staff when they pick up their child.

Release of Children

Parents are to notify the centre if someone other than the usual person is picking up their child on any given day. Educators will ask for picture identification and the individual should be 18 years of age or older. We will not release your child if we have not been told to do so.


Please call the centre before your child's scheduled arrival if your child will be absent.

Children's Belongings

What will my child need to bring?

Each child is assigned a cubbie or hook to hold their personal belongings. Please label all belongings. We are not responsible for lost articles. Required belongings vary depending upon the age of your child, but in general:

  • Children's clothing for child care should be comfortable, washable and easy for the child to fasten. Extra clothes are also a necessity. We often encourage children to participate in activities that can be messy, so they need clean, dry clothes to change into--especially if your child is learning toileting skills.
  • Time is spent outdoors each day, all seasons, weather permitting. Please ensure your child is dressed appropriately for each day's weather and shoes are available each day.
  • A cuddly sleep toy or special blanket is always welcome.

Walking and Learning Trips - Off Premises

From time to time short walking trips or, on occasion major learning trips may occur to expand the learning the children have begun in their classrooms. When learning trips are planned, parents will be given complete details regarding the purpose of the trip, the transportation method being used, the cost involved and the date/time of the activity.

Walking and Learning trips are a wonderful way to expand experiences and have an adventure. Sometimes we stay put and invite the adventure to come to us. Information regarding special visitors or activities will be provided for parents.

Child Guidance

Young children benefit from an affirming approach that encourages positive interactions with other children and with adults, rather than from a negative or punitive approach intended to manage unwanted behavior.

Research from diverse fields of study show that children who attend programs where they experience warm, supportive relationships are happier, less anxious and more motivated to learn than those who do not. Experiencing positive relationships in early childhood also has significant long term impact on physical and mental health, and success in school and beyond.

The YMCA Program Statement sets out approaches that support positive interactions between children, families, staff and the community.

The YMCAs statement on creating a Positive Child Care and School Age Youth Development Climate sets our approach and standards of behaviour to creating a safe and accepting environment in YMCA programs.

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Health and Well-being


YMCA Child Care fosters environments that encourage children to express, reflect upon, share and celebrate their own ideas and experiences. We work with you to create a plan that will support your child to function and fully participate in YMCA Child Care regardless of their exceptionalities.  


Infant, Toddler and Preschool Progams provide morning and afternoon snack and lunch. Lunch and snacks are presented in a manner that promotes opportunities for children to socialize, learn and model good eating habits as well as practice self-help skills, build self-esteem and expand language. Children are encouraged to try some of each food available. Meals and snacks are offered in a comfortable, secure environment where children often eat foods that they would not touch at home.

If your child is under one year of age you will be asked to provide written instructions with regards to feeding. A copy will be maintained in the child's file.

Menus and substitutions are posted and copies are available for parents to take one home to assist in planning meals at home

Before and Afterschool Programs provide a menu that is posted at each site.

A bagged lunch is required for attendance on all school closure days (PA days, March break, Winter Break). Please see Bagged Lunch Protocol.

We are conscious of food allergies and have allergy lists posted in the kitchen and eating areas. In the event that there is a severe life threatening allergy within your child's centre, restrictions in food will apply.

Children experiencing allergies may have substitutions. Speak to the Supervisor if your child has special dietary concerns, needs or allergies. All food from home that is brought into the centre to accommodate specific allergies must be clearly labelled with the child's name and date as per Public Health requirements.


Health care is of great importance. Although illness in group settings is inevitable, we try to minimize this by practicing good hygiene, disinfecting toys regularly, and making daily health checks.

When your child does get sick, we ask that you remember the following:

  • Children who are too ill to play, are too ill to come to child care
  • Children cannot be kept inside due to illness--all children go outside weather permitting.
  • Children who show signs of high fever, vomiting, diarrhea or other contagious illness cannot attend
  • Should your child become ill during the day you will be contacted to pick up your child

Your child can return to the centre after he/she is free of diarrhea and/or vomiting for 24 hours. In the case of an outbreak, your child can return to the centre after he/she is free of diarrhea and/or vomiting for 48 hours.

 Administration of Medication

Our staff can administer medications if:

  • Medications are brought in their original containers
  • Medication must be labeled appropriately with child's name (staff will provide a label for over the counter medications)
  • Medication has not expired
  • Staff are required to follow the directions on the original container, a Doctor's note may be required if the dosage is listed by weight or you are requesting a dosage different than the directions on the container.
  • Medication form is completed
  • Very strict medication procedures are in place to ensure that medication is given in the proper manner. Never leave medication, lotions, chapstick etc in your child's bag or cubbie. Always hand them to a staff member.

Accidents and Injuries

The safety and well being of your child in our child care program is of the highest priority. We work diligently to provide a safe, creative and nurturing environment for all. In spite of the best precautions, accidents and injuries can sometimes take place. 

If your child is involved in a minor accident while in our care, YMCA educators will immediately administer first aid. We will inform you when you come to pick up. You will be asked to sign an accident report to acknowledge that the YMCA Educators have informed you about the incident, you will also receive an electronic copy of the form. Depending on the extent of the injury, you may be asked to pick up your child to seek the appropriate medical attention.  

The YMCAs of Cambridge & Kitchener-Waterloo are committed to ensuring the safety and well-being of all employees and participants in YMCA programs. As such we have a comprehensive Concussion Policy to supplement existing best practices and emergency procedures.

Other Emergencies

In the event of a fire, tornado, natural disaster and other related emergency situations, our YMCA Educators will follow the YMCA established emergency management plan.  Fire drills are practiced monthly in both the morning and afternoon in every age grouping.  An outline of the emergency evacuation procedure, meeting spot and alternate evacuation location is posted on parent boards within the centre.   In the event of an emergency evacuation parents will be notified with a Child Care Pro email blast and kept informed of the situation.  

Serious Occurrence Reporting Requirements

Licensed Child Care programs are required to report serious occurrences to the Ministry of Education.  To support increased transparency and access to information a Serious Occurrence notification form will be posted at the centre in a visible area for 10 days.  The serious occurrence posting will give parents information about the incident and outline follow up actions taken and the outcomes, while respecting the privacy of the individuals involved.  Long term actions taken by the YMCA will also be included to help prevent similar incidents in the future. 

Please see our Serious Occurence document for a summary of relevant serious occrance reporting criteria as legislated by the Ministry of Education.

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Parent/Family Engagement and Communications

At the YMCA we understand that a parent is the most important person in a child's life. YMCA Educators play a supporting role while parents go to work and school.

You are encouraged to take an active role in your YMCA Child Care Centre and regularly discuss what your  child(ren) is experiencing. In YMCA Child Care we support positive responsive interactions among children, parents, child care providers and staff, and foster the engagement of and ongoing communication with parents about the program and their children. YMCA Staff are available to engage  in conversations with you and support a positive experience during every interaction. YMCA Educators keep a record of each infant, toddler and preschool age childs learning development in the WeemarkableTM portal, which is available to parents each day on the WeemarkableTM App.

Accessible Complaints Procedure 

All issue and concerns raised by parents are taken seriously and will be addressed in a thorough and professional manner. Every effort will be made to resolve issues and concerns to the satisfaction of all  and as quickly as possible.

Steps for reporting and responding to issues and concerns;

  1. Issues and concerns may be brought forward verbally or in writing to YMCA Educators and/or Centre Supervisor .
  2. An initial response to an issue or concern will be provided within 24 hours.
  3. Investigations of issues and concerns will be fair, impartial and respectful to all parties involved.
  4. The person that raised the concern will be kept informed throughout the resolution process.
  5. Responses and outcomes will be provided verbally, or in writing upon request and may include the opportunity to meet if requested.   

Where parents are not satisfied with the response or outcome of an issue or concern, they may escalate the issue or concern verbally or in writing as follows;

  • YMCA Child Care Educator
  • YMCA Child Care Supervisor
  • YMCA Director of Operations
  • YMCA General Manager
  • YMCA Vice President or CEO

Issues or concerns related to compliance with the requirments set out in the Child Care and Early Years Act 2014 should be reported to the Ministry of Education's Child Care Quality Assurance and Licensing Branch.

Issues or concerns related to abuse, neglect are reportable to Family and Children Services of the Waterloo Region. Any person who becomes aware of such a concern is responsible for reporting this information as per the "Duty to Report" requirement under the Child and Family Services Act. 

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