Early Learning & Child Care Programs

There are four types of regulated early learning and child care programs:

  • Centre-Based - includes child care centres, day care programs, nursery schools and preschools (Ministry of Education, Child Care Quality Assurance and licensing branch).
  • Home-Based - caregivers provide care for up to five children within their own homes under contract with a licensed agency (licensed under Ministry of Education, Child Care Quality Assurance and licensing branch).
  • School-Based - extended day programs are offered for children attending full day kindergarten schools (regulated by Ministry of Education).
  • Recreation and Camp Programs (member Ontario Campers Association of High Five Designation).


For an overview of Early Learning and Child Care click here.


If you are searching for Early Learning and Child Care programs, visit OneList Waterloo Region  

Programs Operated by Region of Waterloo Children's Services

Children's Centres

 The Region of Waterloo operates five children's centres located in:

  • Cambridge
  • Kitchener
  • Elmira

little boy playing with toy truck



For an overview of our Children's Centres, check out our handbook.

The Children's Centres use a specialized curriculum called HighScope, a high quality, research-based approach to early learning, which supports children to  become strong independent learners.



Our centres have achieved full accreditation as HighScope demonstration sites. All of our teachers are registered with the College of Early Childhood Educators and are certified HighScope teachers with the HighScope Educational Research Foundation.

For more detailed information download a copy of our Parent Handbook.

Each year, parents are asked to share their thoughts about the Children's Centres. Read the 2016 Parent Survey results

To register for our centres go to OneList Waterloo Region.


mother reading to young daughter


Home Child Care

The Region of Waterloo runs a licensed Home Child Care program.

The program is available for children up to age 12 and can be available anytime, seven days a week and 24 hours a day throughout Waterloo Region.

Check out the Home Child Care Parent Handbook for more information.



 Reasons to choose Home Child Care:

  • Care is provided in a family home setting.
  • Care is available close to your home, school or work.
  • All your children can be cared for in the same home.
  • Care can be arranged during non-traditional hours.
  • You may find a better cultural fit for your family.
  • Quality assurance by our program staff.
  • Home Child Care helps to find your caregiver for you.

Each year, parents are asked to share their thoughts about the Home Child Care program and how it works for their child. Read the 2015 Parent Survey results.  

To register for Home Child Care go to OneList Waterloo Region

Contact Us

For more information, please contact:

Roger Gilbert, Manager, Home Child Care


Recreation and Camp Programs

Placements are available for subsidy-eligible families who have school-age children to attend camp/recreation programs. Placements are available at:

  • KW YWCA Camp Clover
  • YWCA Cambridge Shades Mill
  • Bingemans Park

If your child is currently attending a licensed child care centre or home child care program and you are interested in a camp/recreation placement, the following applies:

  • The hours of your work must be a minimum of six hours and must fall within the core hours of the camp/recreation program.
  • Your request must be discussed with your current child care program or home child caregiver. The child care program or home child caregiver must agree to not bill the Region for the time your child is absent from their program to attend the camp/recreation placement.
  • A Camp/Recreation agreeement form, completed and signed by the child care program or home child caregiver must be submitted to the Child Care Subsidy office a minimum of two weeks before the first day of the camp/recreation program.
  • Changes to a camp/recreation placement approved by the Child Care Subsidy office must be requested a minimum of two weeks before the first day of the camp/recreation program.

If you are not receiving Child Care Subsidy and you are interested in having your child attend one of the above camp/recreation programs, call 519-883-2200 to see if you are eligible to apply.


Need help paying for child care?