Care to wait?
Some parents have gone to extremes to get their child enrolled in Mount Royal’s Child Care Centre, according to a representative of the program.
Anna Zacharias says the wait list currently has 365 children on it, meaning parents could be waiting a very long time before getting a spot. Internal families, meaning Mount Royal students and staff, are given first and second priority respectively, and the general public third.
The child care centre is a not-for-profit organization and licensed for a maximum of 80 children, said Zacharias in an e-mail interview. She added that 60 per cent of the children are from Mount Royal students or employees, while the other 40 per cent are from the general public.
When a spot opens up, the child care centre will call the first student on the waiting list, and give them 24 hours to respond. If they don’t respond in time, the next student on the list is called. If no students respond to the call, Mount Royal employees on the list are then contacted, and eventually the public until the spot is filled.
When a family accepts an opening in the program, they must submit a $30 non-refundable administration fee within 24 hours of acceptance. The current wait list represents more than $10,000 in revenue for the centre.
Patrick Perri, a Mount Royal instructor with two daughters who are or have been in the child care program, had his name on multiple waiting lists before his daughter was given a spot.
“We put our name on the list early enough, knowing that we were going to have to do it,” said Perri, explaining that when he first signed up he was told it could take up to eight months to obtain a spot.
Perri advises parents to plan ahead if they know they will have to go back to work and will require child-care. “You have to organize that level of child care, and do the research for it,” he said.
It’s not uncommon for day cares throughout the city to have long waiting lists, and Zacharias said some parents have gone to extremes to get their child enrolled in Mount Royal’s program.
“We have been offered free trips, money and chocolates, and have been offered to name ‘it’ and they would provide,” she said, adding these are examples that highlight the need for quality day care spaces in Calgary.
Though Perri said he has some minor concerns about the day care, such as drop-off parking, facilities maintenance and security, he feels very comfortable leaving his daughter in the hands of the Child Care Centre staff.
Perri said it’s nice to have his child so close by, so if there are any problems, he can be there within minutes.
“I really feel very comfortable with the quality of the care that my kids get,” he said.