Understanding Your Options for Daycare in Surrey and How to Choose the Right One

Daycare centres in Surrey are notoriously difficult to get into. Many of the most popular centres keep extensive waitlists of parents eager to secure the best childcare for their little ones. Finding a daycare in Surrey that meets your family’s needs and has space for your child might feel like an uphill battle, but here are things that you can do to help make the journey a little easier, without compromising on quality care.

Understanding Your Options

You’ve probably heard the stories of parents putting their unborn babies on waitlists for daycares and waiting years for a space. While it’s true that some centres may have lengthy waits, getting into a program might not be as challenging as you think. Capacity can vary significantly based on the type of daycare centre, the age group you are looking at, and even the time of year you are applying.

Getting on waitlists early is always a good idea, but don’t despair if you haven’t; you still have options. There are several types of daycare in Surrey, and knowing the differences can help you narrow down your choices.

Licensed Group Daycare Centres in Surrey

This is the most popular type of daycare in Surrey. Parents love the security, reliability, and diversity of enrichment programs offered by licensed group daycare centres, while children benefit from structured programming and age-appropriate groups.

Large daycare centres will always have enough staff to ensure no disruption in care when an educator is out sick. There are typically no lengthy closures, except for statutory holidays, which can sometimes be an issue with home daycare centres.

Home Daycare, Licensed or Unlicensed

Home daycares are another childcare option that appeals to many parents. Kids often form strong bonds with their caregivers thanks to a smaller group setting and can benefit from socializing with kids from various age groups. Home daycares may offer some structured educational elements but often focus on play-based learning.
Home daycares can be licensed with a maximum capacity of 8 or they can be unlicensed, where caregivers can have up to 2 children (or a sibling group), in addition to their own children, under their care.
Licensed home daycares are provincially regulated and have to pass strict health and safety requirements in order to maintain their license. Educators must also have completed an ECE (early childhood educator certificate) and pass a criminal record check.

LNR (license not required) daycare centres in Surrey can operate legally, provided that no more than two non-related children are in their care. There is no provincial oversight, and the onus is on parents to verify qualifications and quality of care.

LNR home daycare is usually less expensive than licensed home daycare, but in both cases, parents must be prepared to have a backup plan for unexpected daycare provider absences and vacation periods.

Nanny and Nanny Shares

A nanny gives parents the most flexibility in setting hours and terms, and some children may prefer receiving care in a familiar setting. Nannies are also the only childcare option that can accommodate non-business-hours schedules, which can greatly benefit parents employed in shift work.

Nannies are Surrey’s most expensive childcare option, with the average hourly wage approaching $20/ hour. This does not include employment insurance and CPP.

Some families choose to share the costs of hiring a nanny by organizing a nanny share with another family but managing the needs of multiple schedules, and family dynamics can be challenging.

Armed with a better idea of your options, you can begin looking into the daycare choice that works best for your family. Visit the licensed daycare centres in Surrey that you are considering and meet with the educators. If the daycare centre you are interested in has a waitlist, make sure to regularly check up on the status of your application – with hundreds of names, it’s easy for yours to fall through the cracks. Maintaining contact with the centre will keep your name fresh on their minds when space does become available.