Who to contact
- Department of Education, Early Learning and Culture
- (902) 438-4130
In Prince Edward Island, the Early Childhood Development division of the Department of Education, Early Learning and Culture is responsible for licensing and monitoring early learning and child care programs, administering government funding, and providing family support programs. The Schools in PEI division of the Department is responsible for kindergarten.
Finding child care
Facts and figures
- There is a regulated space for 33.8% of children aged 0–12 years; regulated full or part-time centre-based space for 39.4% of children aged 0–5 yrs. (2016)
- 59% of child care is owned by private, for-profit organizations. There is no publically delivered child care. (2016)
Parents are responsible for finding and obtaining a child care space for their child(ren); there is no entitlement.
The province offers several resources to support families locate licensed early learning and child care programs in their community.
The Directory of Licensed Early Learning and Child Care Centres includes descriptions of different types of care available and information about programs locations, hours, and age groups served.
The Early Learning and Child Care Registry also helps families locate licensed early learning and child care centres in their community and allows families to join waitlists online.
A guide to quality child care is available to provide tips on what to look for and questions to ask.
Paying for child care
Parents are responsible for paying child care fees.
In 2017, a national survey of child care fees found the full-time, monthly median parent fee in Charlottetown (including centre-based and home child care) was $738/mo for infants, $608/mo for toddlers, and $586/mo for preschoolers.
See Time Out: Child care fees in Canada 2017 for a breakdown of child care fees in the 27 largest cities in Canada.
The Child Care Subsidy Program, administered by the Supports and Services division of the Department of Family and Human Resources, provides eligible families with a partial or full subsidy based on a province-wide income test. Find more information, including specific eligibility criteria, in the Child Care Subsidy Policies.
In Prince Edward Island, subsidies can be used in either non-profit or for-profit regulated centres and family child care.
To apply for subsidy, contact the child care subsidy office at 1-877-569-0546 for more information or to set up an appointment.
Note: You must find a child care centre or family home day care for your child before a subsidy can be applied. Applications for the above program are not available online.
Regulated child care
Meeting the regulations is an important basis for quality but is considered to be a minimum in all provinces/territories. High quality centres:
- Go above and beyond minimum standards by, for example, increasing the number of staff or hiring staff with more than required early childhood training.
- Incorporate non-required elements into the program such as community involvement or inclusion of children with special needs.
- Develop their own approach to requirements such as a well-defined pedagogical approach.
On Prince Edward Island, early childhood centres, school-age child care centres and regulated family child care must operate in accordance with the regulations set out in the Early Learning and Child Care Act and Regulations.
Regulations address a wide range of standards: including window sizes, child to staff ratios, and outdoor time. Selected regulations related to program quality are highlighted below.
- In full and part day child care centres, centre supervisors and one full-time staff member in each program must have at least a one-year Early Childhood Development diploma or university Child Study degree.
- In family child care homes and school-age centres the supervisor and one staff person must have successfully completed one unit of continuing education (defined as one semester university/college course) in early childhood development, and must provide two personal references from members of the community.
- Staff:child ratios address the number of staff required per number of children.
- Group size is the number of children, usually of one age group, that stay together throughout the day in a defined group – often a room.
- Family child care homes have a specified number of children by age.
Child care centres
Each centre may have a maximum of 80 spaces overall.
|Age of child||Staff:child ratios||Max group size|
|2-3 years||1:5||not specified|
|3-5 years||1:10||not specified|
|5-6 years||1:12||not specified|
|6+ years||1:15||not specified|
Family child care
The maximum capacity for a regulated family child care home is seven children including the provider’s own children under school-age. Of those seven children there can be a maximum of three children under two years.
Regulated centres are not required to provide meals (if they’re not provided, children bring them from home). If meals are provided, they must be in accordance with the Canada Food Guide to Health Eating.
There is no minimum outdoor time requirement. A child care centre must provide a minimum of seven square metres of outdoor space for each child enrolled; exceptions may be made to this requirement if adjacent outdoor space is not available.
The supervisor is required to develop and post behavior management policies. The supervisor must also instruct all staff and program volunteers as to the behaviour management policies in effect at the program. Policies must indicate a positive approach to discipline and prohibit any form of physical punishment, verbal or emotional abuse or denial of necessities.
The regulations require that basic health and safety precautions are met. For example, providers are required to:
- Have accessible emergency contact information
- Have and practice an evacuation plan
- Report “unusual occurrences” (i.e., accident or injury) to the ministry consultant
- Enforce hygienic diapering procedures
- Ensure the safe storage and administration of prescription medication.
PEI adopted a play-based curriculum framework, Relationships, environments, experiences for regulated child care programs in 2012; it is mandatory for Early Years Centres (but not other child care centres) to use it.
The regulations do not address all aspects of quality. For example, the regulations do not address levels of, or strategies for parental involvement.
Unregulated child care
Unregulated family child care providers can only care for the following groupings of children: no more than two infants, no more than four preschool-age children; no more than six school-age children; no more than five children in mixed-aged groupings where only one child can be under 22 months and only three children can be preschool-age children (including the provider’s own children).
Children with disabilities
A child with a diagnosed disability may be eligible for childcare subsidy, regardless of parental employment or education/training enrolment. Find eligibility criteria in the Child Care Subsidy Policies.
Licensed child care centres may apply for a Special Needs Grant to cover the cost of additional staff required to support children with disabilities. The Special Needs Grant helps lower the child to staff ratio in environments with children requiring additional or specific care.
See Do you have a child with a disability or special need? for more information on provincial/territorial supports for children with disabilities in child care.