I’ll be registering Middle for junior kindergarten (JK) this week. While it’s exciting that she’ll be starting school, making new friends, and learning new things, this is not what excites us most.
For us, having Middle start school means we’re one step closer to the end of regular child-care payments.
When I returned to work after my last maternity leave, we chose to employ a live-out nanny to care for our three young children. Although there are many conveniences and advantages to having someone come to our house to look after our girls, I don’t believe that this is the best option for our children’s development. It is however, the cheapest option. My personal preference for child-care is a licensed non-profit child-care centre. However, besides the frustrations of the wait-list for spots, the daily fees in our local child-care centre would have cost us over $160. As it is, our family spends about $2500 a month in child-care expenses.
Unfortunately, our local school doesn’t yet have Full-Day Kindergarten. Although the Full-Day Kindergarten program began to be implemented in Ontario in 2010, the year that Oldest started JK, our school is slated to be among the last of the schools in the province to implement the program. Provided the Full-Day Kindergarten program isn’t cancelled between now and then, (as suggested by economist Don Drummond in his cost-saving recommendations, but fortunately still supported by the Liberal finance minister Dwight Duncan), Full-Day Kindergarten will be available to our school by the time Youngest is 4, in 2014.
That means, in 2.5 years, we’ll finally be able to see our child-care costs decrease dramatically.
I don’t like to wish away time. I don’t really look forward to the days when my little girls are not so little, but I do like to imagine what we could be doing with that extra money every month. Although, I suppose by the time they we no longer need to pay for child-care, we’ll need to pay for dance classes and costumes, or ski school and equipment, or figure skating lessons, or martial arts, or piano, or…