There are many possibilities for children of all abilities to enjoy summer camp. The best-known one is the Easter Seals Summer Camp, but there are many more options for both day and overnight camp opportunities.
ACT BC‘s Summer Camp List is one of the most comprehensive for children with special needs.
Also find complete listings of BCCA accredited camps at the BC Camping Association website. They have a good list of hints and tips, including this one, "…the people who direct the camp are far more important than the equipment, buildings, and facilities advertised."
Many Disability-centred non-profits also sponsor summer camps for children with specific disabilities. Check out the organization that supports your child’s disability and see what they may be offering this year. For example the Cerebral Palsy Association of BC offers funding for children with CP to attend camp and the Canadian Cancer Society has Camp Goodtimes for children and teens living with cancer.
1. Is the center you are considering licensed?
2. Are the staff qualified? If so, you should see ECE certificates and/or Licenses’ to Practice posted. Also, First Aid certificates should be posted and updated.
3. Ask your childcare provider how often staff go for extra training and workshops – this ensures that the staff are keeping up to date and are interested in ensuring that new, creative techniques are being implemented.
4. What kind of snacks does the daycare provide if any. Are they nutritious, creative and diverse? Do they follow the Canadian Food Guide?
5. Does the daycare have an open door policy? Or do parents have to wait outside, or only come in during certain times. Some daycares do not allow parents to visit or pick up early, as this can interfere with the structure of the program. Other daycares allow parents to pop in to say hello or to see how their child is progressing. Keep in mind that most childcare centres will ask parents to not visit or pick up during rest/nap time as this can wake the other children.
6. Is the daycare equiped with fun and creative toys. Furniture that is child friendly? Areas for children to play together and also areas for children to be alone?
7. What activities are offered at the centre? Do these activities promote both social and emotional skills? Are there equal opportunities for gross motor and fine motor related play?
8. What is the daycares children to staff ratio? Does this number reflect licensing regulations?
9. Are the staff warm, sensitive, caring and responsible?
10. Does the daycares philsophy on childcare and education match yours?
If you are planning to enroll your child in daycare sometime in the future, it would be a great idea to place their names on waitlists as soon as possible, as most daycares have waitlists so long, that the chances of you obtaining a spot immediately is very slim.
Even if you know that you will not be requiring childcare for a couple years, many daycares will still put you on their waitlist and contact you if a space becomes available closer to the date you have requested.
In some instances, it may be benificial for families to accept and pay for daycare spots even if they are not required immediatly as this will prevent your child’s name to be pushed to the end of the list. So if you find yourself being offered a spot a couple months before you need it, take into consideration that another spot may not open for many months…