Agency Offers Quality Child Care & Home Business Opportunity
When Luisa Pappert was a young working mom in Brantford seeking child care, a friend told her about Wee Watch, a licensed home child care option.
With a background in business administration she was eventually asked to join the board of directors. Pappert believed in the concept of quality, home child care so much that, when the agency went up for sale, she welcomed the opportunity.
That was in 2005. Today, she works with a team of four registered early childhood educators, who help support the 50 contracted providers throughout Brantford-Brant.
When the Covid-19 pandemic took hold, the province deemed licensed home daycares an essential service for those required to work, including people like first responders. “This is the most critical time of my life right now,” said Pappert.
With many questioning why licensed home child care was remaining open, Pappert stressed they are performing “due diligence.” “Our standards, our cautions, our providers have very strict guidelines as to who can attend their daycares and we are available to our community,” she said. As providers are independent contractors, they are not mandated to stay open and can choose if they want to close.
A stay at home mom in Markham, Ontario, created the first Wee Watch home child care business back in 1984. It’s based on the simple premise that home child care, offering flexibility and personal attention, is the most appropriate form of child care for infants and children up to 12 years of age.
It offers licensed child care for no more than six children in a private home during the day, evening, weekends or even overnight. Some providers are also willing to care for special needs children and support is provided from Lansdowne Children Centre in Brantford.
A typical day incorporates a set program from the “How does learning happen?” guideline. Education materials and support are available through the Ontario EarlyON Centre and the library. Wee Watch is licensed through the Ministry of Education and they must meet and or exceed regulations as set out in the Childcare and Early Years Act.
Providers are extensively screened before being hired on as a subcontractor. Criminal record checks, personal and business references, medical record checks, site safety checks as well as an evacuation plan are among the requirements. There are also unscheduled monthly home inspections. Programming also includes outdoor play, nutritious meals following Canada’s food guide and fun games.
As more people move into the community, the more the demand for childcare grows. Pappert says it’s an opportunity for parents who want to stay home with their own children, provide a valuable service to the community, while having their own business.
The Ministry of Education supports licensed home child care financially, allowing them to reduce fees to parents while increasing provider fees and recruiting new providers.
Shilani Joseph was a full-time working mom when she placed her year-old son in daycare in 2004. Then she had a second son. “That’s when I decided I wanted to stay home and be with my boys, so I can be there for them as they grow up,” she said. She says they couldn’t afford to have two children in daycare and opening a Wee Watch business, was the best choice financially.
The program takes into account the children’s individual interests and incorporates the season. “If they want to colour they can colour, if they want to do something with sticks and leaves, they can do that, or whatever they want to do,” she said. Today Shilani has four boys ages 16, 12, eight and four.
Ashley Komadoski is certified to teach kindergarten through grade six, but was unable to land a full-time teaching position. She was also working full-time in retail “but not fulfilled,” she said.
Komadoski says Wee Watch was an ideal alternative, allowing her to raise her 17-month-old son at home. “It’s been wonderful,” she said. There are perks including, back-up through other providers, should she need to take time off.
It also allows her to use her teaching background and prepare kids for kindergarten. “We get to work on number recognition, we practice our alphabet and counting backwards and forward,” she said. Komadoski’s group also enjoyed a “pot o’ gold” hunt on St. Patrick’s Day and there is time spent outside every day.
Komadoski says she’s very happy with Wee Watch which allows her to “be her own boss, while receiving a lot of support.”
Christine Marsh has been a Wee Watch provider for 27 years. Like many, it began when her daughter (now 28) was born and she didn’t want to leave her with anyone else. “I needed an income to be honest and I grew to absolutely love it,” she said. Marsh says the most rewarding part of the work has been seeing all the different levels of growth.
Education is incorporated into everyday activities as fun. “If I happen to throw in a load of laundry the night before, I’ll have them match the socks up by colour, by shape and I try to incorporate something educational into everything I do,” she said.
For more information on becoming a provider or for registering your child for Wee Watch child care, check out weewatch.com/brantford.