Child Care Operators

Early Years System

Through various consultations with early years operators and the release of “How Does Learning Happen?” it has been identified that in order to provide an increasingly responsive high quality early childhood program, it was necessary to create a new approach to reflect and measure the individual goals of our centres, recognizing that each centre has a unique set of strengths and challenges.

System Priorities

System priorities can be described as a tool to identify a centre’s needs by reflecting on current practices and views and encouraging the adoption of new ideas. 

Licensed home and centre based child care programs are advised to use the document named “How Does Learning Happen?” as a resource for the purpose of guiding their programming.  As a result, we have aligned system priorities with the Early Years Community Plan to help operators identify areas in their program that can be improved through critical reflection, discussion and work towards achieving their organizational goals.

These four system priorities are to be used as a reference for operators:

High-quality early years child care programs that foster children’s learning and development is a key component that will establish positive, responsive relationships with children and their families.  Therefore, we expect that all contracted child care operators participate in the City of Hamilton’s Early Years Quality Program. 

The purpose of the quality assured priority is to help facilitate early childhood educators in developing high-quality programs that support children, parents and the early years environment and work toward achieving the goals for children’s learning, development, health and well-being.

Role of CMSM

  • Provide professional learning opportunities.
  • Develop quality initiatives based on best practices.
  • Monitor the Child Care Licensing System and work with operators to ensure compliance.
  • Determine funding allocations for child care operators.
  • Promote opportunities to engage with various organizations e.g. ASCY, College of ECE, Mohawk College.
  • Develop local policies that align with provincial legislative framework and meet local needs.
  • Provide understanding of what funding is available.
  • Work with Ministry of Education, Program Advisors to develop action plans in response to the Licensing Terms and Conditions.
  • Work collaboratively with operators to ensure professional learning opportunities align with work plan.
  • Inform and approve ASCY work plan.

Role of Operator

  • Recruit and retain highly skilled and qualified educators.
  • Participate in local quality initiatives.
  • Create a program statement that is consistent with the Minister’s policy statement on programming and pedagogy.
  • The document “How Does Learning Happen?” is to be used as the framework to guide and develop licensed child care programs.
  • Provide developmentally appropriate and evidence-based learning environments, resources, and curriculum
  • Follow provincial legislation, regulations and directives.
  • Notify City of Hamilton immediately when a provisional license is received.
  • Work with City of Hamilton to develop action plan.

Building a sustainable child care system ensures the City of Hamilton can continue to offer high quality child care programs with well-established community relationships and knowledge of local needs. Adapting to changing demographics and market demands requires research, planning and the development of a business and/or marketing plan that addresses potential barriers and opportunities for improvement. 

The purpose of the sustainability priority is to assist child care operators in re-evaluating their current business model and operations and to incorporate new ideas and strategies to build a sustainable business that is responsive to the needs in the community.  

Role of CMSM

  • Provide tools and training to support operators with: business planning, meetings, work plan templates.
  • Ensure operators know what funding they are eligible for (One-time, transformation, capital retrofits expense, health & safety etc.).
  • Monitor vacancy reports.
  • Create Early Years Community Plan.

Role of Operator

  • Adopt annual business plans that show demand for child care and quality that aligns with costs.
  • Have strong organizational governance.
  • Have strong financial management practices.
  • Be responsive to changes in the child care market.
  • Have a balanced budget.

An accessible child care program provides an early learning environment which minimizes the barriers for families accessing child care.  A child and family centred approach which is responsive to the local needs in the community creates a sense of inclusiveness that encourages operators and parents to participate in community initiatives.

The purpose of the accessibility priority is to assist child care operators in creating an early learning environment which minimizes the barriers for families accessing child care.

Role of CMSM

  • Provide an understanding of the demand for child care in the City of Hamilton to help influence decision making efforts (funding and contractual decisions).
  • Development of Waitlist Strategy.
  • Manage Special Needs Resourcing supports.
  • Lead and develop community initiatives that align with the Early Years Community Plan.

Role of Operator

  • Provide fee subsidized spaces.
  • Have an updated and current profile on the Hamilton Child Care Registry.
  • Minimize barriers to child care services for parents.
  • Provide inclusive early learning and care environments (e.g. AODA, Health and Safety Policies and Procedures, space for physical activity in/out doors etc.).

Building strong connections and partnering with other service providers across the early years system creates a strong integrated relationship.  By engaging parents and children and communicating with them using multiple means helps to establish and maintain positive reciprocal relationships.  This integrated approach requires the adoption of the Ontario Early Years Policy framework which moves towards an increasingly seamless service experience for children and families.

The purpose of the integration priority is to building strong connections and encouraging partnering with other services providers across the early years system.

Role of CMSM

  • Create opportunities and participate in consultation sessions and committees.
  • Help develop policies and procedures that support a seamless transition e.g. Referral pathways, school boards, special needs.

Role of Operator

  • Partner and link to other service providers across the early years system.
  • Engage parents/children.
  • Seamlessly transition children (home to child care to school).
  • Embrace and adopt the City of Hamilton Early Years Community Plan.
  • Participate in community initiatives (e.g. Children’s Charter, Parent Charter and Parent and Family Engagement Framework).

Early Years Quality Program

The Hamilton Early Years Quality Program is a framework and process to guide continuous quality assurance for organizations providing early years programs through Funding Agreements with the City of Hamilton.  The purpose of the program is to collectively make Hamilton the best place to raise a child and the best place to be a child, by cultivating high quality early years programs and services where children, families and educators are viewed as capable and competent.

The program consists of:

Participation in the quality program is mandatory for all licensed child care and EarlyON child and family centre operators that currently have a funding agreement with the City of Hamilton.

For more information on the Hamilton Early Years Quality Program, please contact Supervisor of Child Care System Support at 905-546-2424 x 3091 or email [email protected].

Special needs resourcing

Working together to deliver inclusive child care services in Hamilton

The City of Hamilton is committed to delivering inclusive services where everyone can be successful. To do this, the City uses Special Needs Resourcing funding to ensure that licensed child care sites across the city can deliver the appropriate level of service for children with special needs, including staff, equipment and supplies.

By working together with our licensed child care providers and community partners, we can all provide quality care and services to families and children with special needs. This means:

  • the child care provider, family and child are all included in the creation of a service plan
  • with the consent of the family, information is shared among service providers
  • special attention is paid to transition points (e.g. entry into child care, entry into school)
  • all current service providers provide regular input to Special Needs Resourcing planning meetings

Special Needs Resourcing funding supports children and families as well as Licensed Child Care Programs.

Licensed child care programs

Providing responsive, high quality, accessible and increasingly integrated early learning opportunities for children and their families.

Children and families

Accessing and experiencing early learning environments that encourage engagement, a sense of belonging, well-being and expression.

City of Hamilton

Supporting Children & Child Care Centres through:

  • Referral & Intake
  • Child Care Placement
  • Funding & Monitoring

Phone 905-546-2424 ext. 4872

Ron Joyce Children's Health Centre

Supporting Children & Child Care Centres through:

  • Early Identification
  • Supporting Transitions
  • Capacity Building
  • Education

Phone 905-521-2100 ext. 77696

Early Words

Supporting Children & Child Care Centres through:

  • Preschool Speech & Language
  • Infant Hearing
  • Blind - Low Vision
    • Early Identification
    • Assessment
    • Consultation

Phone 905-381-2828

Community Living Hamilton

Supporting Children & Child Care Centres through:

  • Resource Teachers
  • Support Facilitators
  • Consultation

Phone 905-528-0281

Affiliated Services for Children and Youth

Supporting Children & Child Care Centres through:

  • Training, resources  mentoring to Early Childhood Educators in licensed child care settings

Phone 905-574-6876 ext. 224

For more information about inclusive child care email: [email protected]

The Operator’s role is to work with the family, City of Hamilton staff and community service agencies to ensure that both the child and child care staff are comfortable with the new placement.

Every licensed child care program in the City of Hamilton has an assigned Community Living Hamilton Resource Teacher and Supervisor.

For more information contact
Community Living’s Administrator
905‐528‐0281 ext. 376

Community Living Hamilton Resource Teachers will be available for on‐going consultation.

Additional consultation is available through:

Ron Joyce Children’s Health Centre,
Community Care Access Centre,
Early Words Community Support Team,
Affiliated Services for Children and Youth
Other services involved with the child.

Once a child is enrolled in the child care program, and Community Living Hamilton has received a referral from the City of Hamilton, the Resource Teacher can help to develop the child’s Individual Support Plan (ISP) if one is required.

Once the ISP has been applied for a minimum of 30 days, child care staff can make a request for enhanced classroom support. The Resource Teacher will arrange a time to complete the Enhanced Classroom Support Identification Tool (ECSIT). This tool determines the amount – if any – and length of time enhanced classroom support will be provided by a Support Facilitator.

During the Support Facilitator’s involvement with your program, the Support Facilitator and Resource Teacher will work with you to help plan for when the enhanced classroom support is no longer required. If further support is still needed, you will be required to submit a request to your Resource Teacher for the ECSIT to be completed again. The results will determine if the ECSIT will continue and for how long.

Early Years Community Plan

The Hamilton Early Years Community Plan (EYCP) 2016-2020 outlines the strategic priorities and recommended goals for the Hamilton early year system over the next five years.  It builds on a decade of collective leadership in planning and implementing a comprehensive system of services and supports for children and families.