Quality Makes A Difference - Informing Families

Quality makes a difference - Informing Families

Quality is an important part of every early learning and child care program. Learn what the City is doing to promote quality child care.

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Visiting the Early Learning Child Care Program

It is important for families to understand that the Assessment for Quality Improvement Quality Ratings are a "snapshot" of the environment and events that children experienced on the day of the assessment. We encourage families to visit the Early Learning Child Care Program they are interested in. Visiting allows you to observe the program, speak to staff and ask questions. Learn more in A Parent's Guide to Licensed Child Care in Toronto.

Quality in Early Learning

ExpandWhat is Early Learning Child Care Quality?

All families want their children to have the best care possible. Although location and cost are factors that are considered when making child care arrangements, the quality of care is also important. Children need to have broad and rich experiences that help them to reach their full potential for lifelong learning. Things to consider when choosing a quality child care program:

  • Are staff Registered Early Childhood Educators?
  • Are children engaged in developmentally-appropriate learning experiences?
  • Do staff members talk and interact with children?
  • Are daily learning experiences planned and posted for parents to see what their child will be doing?
  • Are there sufficient toys and materials for children?
  • Are nutritious meals and snacks offered to children?
  • Is the centre clean and free of hazards?

Toronto Children’s Services assess licensed Early Learning Child Care programs to ensure high quality programs are offered to families. Completed assessments for individual Early Learning Child Care programs, called “Quality Ratings,” are posted online for all parents to view.

ExpandWhat is being assessed?

  • Introduction
  • Infant
  • Toddler
  • Preschool
  • Playground
  • Nutrition

The Early Learning and Care for Quality Assessment looks at:

The Learning Environment:

  • Are learning experiences appropriate for that age group?
  • Are children’s individual needs met?
  • Are there enough toys and play materials for the children?


  • Are staff members actively engaged with children and families?
  • Are staff members providing a language-rich environment?

Health and Safety:

  • Are there any safety hazards in the room?
  • Are there processes in place to ensure that children are supervised at all times?


  • Do meals/snacks follow Canada’s Food Guide for nutrition standards?
  • Is food handled safely and according to health regulations?

ExpandWhat are the benefits of the AQI?

  • The Assessment for Quality Improvement or AQI prescribes clear expectations, service standards and guidelines for all child care providers who have a service contract with the City.
  • The AQI measures the level of quality care being offered in an Early Learning Child Care Program.
  • The AQI is much more than just an annual assessment tool. It is a great resource tool that child care operators can use to support continuous improvement and help to set strategic priorities and goals for the organization. Ultimately, this means families and children get better care.
  • Having access to the Quality Ratings helps families to make important decisions regarding the care and early learning experiences for their child.