Frequently Asked Questions

Gaining Knowledge and Understanding

Child Care FAQ

Pumpkin Patch accepts children from the age of 3 months to 12 years. We are licensed for a total of 161 children at any given time. The ratios of teacher to child vary depending on the age of the child.

  • Infants (3-18 months) are 3:10;
  • Toddlers (18-30 months) are 1:5;
  • Preschoolers (2 ½ - 3.8 years) are 1:8;
  • Kindergarten (3.8-6 years) are 1:13;
  • School age (6 - 12 years) are 1:15.

The Centre is approved for 2/3 ratios for the first 90 minutes and the last 60 minutes of each day (infants excepted).

The centre generally runs full year round, working from a waiting list. There are peak times when openings are more frequent (September, January, beginning of summer). Otherwise, it is typically a ‘one-out, one-in’ situation. See “REGISTRATION” for waiting list forms.

Parents/caregivers can fill out a waiting list form here on our website at any time. The centre has family visits on Thursday mornings at 9:30 am. Parents can bring their child, tour the centre and ask as many questions as they wish. See "REGISTRATION" for waiting list forms.

Once a family comes up on the waiting list they will be notified so that visits can be set up for the child and the parents/caregivers. It is extremely important that the centre be informed of the individual needs of each child prior to enrolment. This will ensure the appropriate placement for the child.

Once a space becomes available and has been offered to a family, there are a number of steps that need to take place. The family is asked to pay a retainer equal to one week’s fee to hold their space, unless they have been approved for child care subsidy. The enrolment forms must be completed and returned before the child starts in the program. The forms are designed to include all of the information required by the Ministry of Education and the Public Health Department. It provides the teachers with a good introduction to your child.

The centre has a contract with the City of Hamilton to provide subsidized day care. Families who fall within certain income guidelines will be required to confirm their financial eligibility with a subsidy worker, and then they will be assigned a user fee to be paid to the centre, if applicable.
For more information, contact the Child Care Subsidy Office for the City of Hamilton at (905) 546-2424 x 4870. City of Hamilton website – http://www.hamilton.ca/HealthandSocialServices/

Once a space is confirmed, all families are strongly encouraged to come with their child for a series of visits prior to the actual start date. This allows the child to get comfortable with the Centre and the staff while a parent is here with them. This can be done by calling the centre to let us know when you would like to come in.

The daycare provides a hot lunch and two snacks daily.

Lunches and snacks are based on the Canada Food Guide, and are professionally catered by Wholesome Kids Catering https://wholesomekids.ca/

Due to the severity and variety of allergies, we request that no outside food be brought to the centre, with the exception of the infant program.

The day care is open from 7:00 am to 5:30 pm Monday to Friday. Children can attend up to nine hours daily.

The day care is open year round, with no shut down period. We are, however, closed on the following days:

  • NEW YEAR’S DAY
  • FAMILY DAY
  • GOOD FRIDAY
  • EASTER MONDAY
  • VICTORIA DAY
  • CANADA DAY
  • CIVIC HOLIDAY
  • LABOUR DAY
  • THANKSGIVING DAY
  • CHRISTMAS DAY
  • BOXING DAY

The centre runs a camp during the summer months for children ages 6-12. Families may sign up only for the weeks of care they require. Campers attend 2-3 trips per week, and swim at the community pool on other days.

Pumpkin Patch provides a walking escort to and from GL Armstrong School for children in Junior Kindergarten and older.

No. We will automatically move children from one age group to the next based on the following:

  • Availability of space in the older age group
  • Chronological age
  • Developmental readiness

Even though a child may be old enough to move to the next age grouping, fees must remain the same until there is a space for them and they move. The decision to move a child up to the next age group is made by the Executive Director and Program Supervisor in consultation with teachers and parents/caregivers. Once a child is scheduled to move to the next group the parent/caregiver will be notified of the move date and any fee changes. During the weeks prior to the move date, the child will visit his/her new group for a portion of the day to ensure a smooth transition.

We ask that all families have at least one play visit before their child’s start date in order to determine the best placement for the child. We are a fully integrated child care centre, and Community Living Hamilton  provides Special Needs Resourcing supports that help childcare programs include children with special needs.  If you have concerns about your child's development, please check with your family doctor.  Support is also available through varying agencies, including Ron Joyce Children's Health CentreInfant Hearing Program and  Early Words Speech and Language programs.