Child care crunch doesnt end when school begins

Most Toronto parents know they have to sign up for child care the moment their babies are born if they hope to secure a licensed spot in time to return to work.But many don’t realize competition is equally fierce when kids start kindergarten and parents still need care for the beginning and end of the typical work day.When Stephanie Nakitsas and her husband registered their daughter for junior kindergarten at Gledhill Jr. Public School in February, 56 others were already on the wait list for before- and after-school care.The child care centre in the school near Danforth and Woodbine Aves. has capacity to serve barely one-third of Gledhill’s kindergarten students. The only licensed child care centre in the area that walks children to and from the school is also full.“We knew the early years were going to be really difficult,” says Nakitsas. “We just expected when we got our daughter into school, that the juggle would end.”Article Continued BelowThe only viable alternative, she says, is nanny sharing, an unregulated and more expensive option Nakitsas and her husband aren’t keen on.“It doesn’t seem to make sense, especially when the government is investing so much to make full-day kindergarten work,” she says. “I think they should really be making sure there is a regulated spot for every kid who needs one.”That was the vision in 2009, when the premier’s early learning advisor Charles Pascal recommended full-day kindergarten and a “seamless day” of learning from 7 a.m. until 6 p.m., for families who need it.