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01 Apr, Saturday
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Montreal Families

Camps for the under-5 Set

Summertime brings challenges when it comes to childcare, especially for kids under 5. While older siblings may be enrolled at camp, which usually start accepting youngsters at ages 5 or 6, little ones may not have as many options. Many preschools close over the summer and even full-time daycare providers usually take some vacation time in the warmer months. Parents might also find themselves looking for care in order to do anything from accepting a new job to finishing a major home renovation.

Whatever the circumstances, parents should know that an increasing number of local organizations offer summer programs for the under-5 set. As with any program, it’s important to take the time to find a good fit between a child’s needs, interests and personality and what the camp has to offer.

Joetta Hausmann is the director of Redwood Country Day Camp, which accepts children from ages 4 and up. She suggests parents talk with camping staff or the program director about the following issues:

Pacing of activities: Little ones tire more easily and often need more time to complete a task, such as getting dressed after a swim lesson. Therefore the daily program probably shouldn’t include as many activities as you would see for an older child.

Nap or quiet time: Most toddlers and some preschoolers still need a nap after lunch, although as they approach 4 years old, many kids don’t want to sleep anymore. Parents should discuss how the program structures either a nap or quiet time in the early afternoon.

Bathroom issue: Given that a spare pair of pants and underwear is standard gear for even kindergarteners, parents should not hesitate to discuss toileting issues. Are the bathrooms close enough to activity rooms or spaces that a little one will be able to “make it” in time? Will counsellors be able to work with a child who has just started feeling comfortable using a big toilet, rather than a potty? Who helps the children in the bathroom with clothes and personal hygiene?

Sun safety: Children should have sunscreen applied and be wearing a hat before they go outside. Find out how the camp handles kids who toss off those hats or who squirm during sunscreen applications.

Counsellor/camper ratio: The Quebec Camping Association asks that accredited day camps have a ratio of 1 counsellor per 8 campers under age 5. However, Hausmann notes that at Redwood, they usually have two counsellors per group of 8 to 10 young campers as well as a counsellor overseeing each activity such as arts and crafts or sports. Parents should ask about ratios and if the little campers will stay with the same person throughout the day or not.

Health and well-being: Camps ask parents to fill out health forms and these are particularly important for little ones who might not be able to tell an adult if something is wrong. Hausmann suggests that parents should include information about their child’s personality and habits, noting for example if someone eats very slowly or cries easily over little upsets.

The following is a list of summer camps that accept kids under the age of 5:

Ballet Ouest Centre de Danse
Pointe Claire
Ages 4 & up (co-ed)
(514) 783-1245

Centre du Sablon
Chomedey, Laval
Ages 4-12 (co-ed)
(450) 688-8961
ext. 226

Champions Day Camp
Ages 3-14 (co-ed)
(514) 739-3721

Club Gymnix
Ages 4-13 (co-ed)
(514) 872-1536

Cote St. Luc Day Camps
Cote St. Luc
Ages 2-16 (co-ed)
(514) 485-6806

Explorations Day Camp
Ages 4-18 (co-ed)
(514) 398-4252

Friendly Faces Day Camp
Ages 4-11 (co-ed)
(514) 737-6551

Happy Campers Day Camp
Ages 21/2 – 10 (co-ed)
(514) 624-6750 ext. 23

High Point Camp
Ste. Agathe North
Ages 3-14 (co-ed)
(514) 620-0110

K.I.D.S. Day Camp
Ages 3-15 (co-ed)
(514) 938-5290

McGill Conservatory Day Camp
Ages 4-17 (co-ed)
(514) 398-5505

Montessori School of Pointe Claire Day Camp
Pointe Claire
Ages 16 months-7 years
(514) 697-3792

Orchard House Summer Day Camp
Ages 2-6 (co-ed)
(514) 483-6556

Pierrefonds Preschool Camp
Ages 21/2 – 5 (co-ed)
(514) 369-8800

Playful Parenting – Congregation Beth Tikvah
Ages 11/2 – 3 (co-ed)
(514) 683-5610

Pointe Claire Cultural Day Camp
Pointe Claire
Ages 4-5 or 5-11 (co-ed)
(514) 630-1220

Razmataz Kidz
Ages 2-7
(450) 973-3492

Redwood Country Day Camp
Ages 4-15 (co-ed)
(450) 455-3227

Sheila Parkins School of Dance
Ages 3-13
(514) 626-1981

Sunny Acres Day Camp
Ste. Anne de Bellevue
Ages 3-15 (co-ed)
(514) 369-6364

Sunny Days Day Camp
Ages 2-4 (co-ed)
(514) 937-9475

Superfriends Day Camp
Cote St. Luc
Ages 18 months-6 years (co-ed)
(514) 484-4344

Tai Chi Centre Ultimate Day Camp
Ages 4-17 (co-ed)
(514) 684-9584

TBDJ Nursery School
Cote St. Luc
Ages 18 months –4 years
(514) 489-3841

Tellit-Dire Speech and Language Summer Camp
Ages 3-7 (co-ed)
(514) 731-1411 ext. 114

West Island Montessori Day Camp
Ages 18 months-8 years (co-ed)
(514) 684-3733

Ages 4 & up (co-ed)
(514) 683-0602

Yitzhak Rabin Nursery Camp
Cote St. Luc
Ages 2-4 (co-ed)
(514) 485-6806

The Ys of Québec

Ages 2-5 (1/2 day from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., co-ed)
Ages 5*-16 (*Kindergarten completed, full day, co-ed)
(514) 486-7315 ext. 229

St. Laurent
Ages 3-5 (preschool day camp, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., co-ed)
(514) 747-9801

West Island
Ages 3-5 (1/2 day from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., co-ed)
Ages 5*-17 (*Kindergarten completed, full days, co-ed)
(514) 630-9864 ext. 265

Ages 21/2 – 5
(1/2 day from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., co-ed)
Ages 5*-17 (*Kindergarten completed, full days, co-ed)
(514) 931-6770 ext. 229

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