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Frequently Asked Question

How is Buddings different from conventional daycare?

Like conventional centres, we offer engaging play-based curriculum for toddlers and preschoolers, led by Early Childhood Educators. Our beautiful, plant-filled centre incorporates the play areas and development zones you’d find in any licensed childcare program. For safety and security, families must register with the centre prior to dropping them off.

The difference is, at Buddings, you can schedule the social-emotional benefits of daycare around your real-life commitments, conveniently and cost-effectively. You don’t need to pay for time you don’t use, and you can change it up anytime. With up to 40 hours a month, it’s flexible, occasional childcare.

Is it Drop-In?

Not exactly…

We are an Occasional Care Centre, licensed with Vancouver Coastal Health to care for a maximum of 16 children per hour, with a 1:4 ratio for teachers to children – try finding that in a drop in program, or even a conventional centre!

We’re open 8am – 6pm, Monday to Friday, and 10am – 4pm on Saturdays, with spots you can book with as little as one hour’s notice, whenever you want. For a morning, afternoon, or the whole day, we’re more flexible than “drop-in,” with an educational program and professionally trained educators. 🙂

Is Buddings for me?

The answer is maybe. Buddings offers flexible occasional care for modern families and could be for you if any of the following are true:

  1. You don’t necessarily need full-time childcare, but you would like to put your child in a license childcare program for the social and developmental benefits.
  2. You need childcare at variable times, depending on the commitments that arise for work and busy family social lives.
  3. You have a few regular appointments and classes each week when you need childcare.
  4. You could use a bit of time to yourself in the run of the day.
  5. You have a working childcare arrangement in place but it’s nice to have a back-up.

How old are the kids at Buddings?

Buddings accommodates toddlers from 18 – 36 months, and preschoolers from 3 to 5 years of age.

What is Occasional Childcare?

An occasional childcare centre is one where each child attends for a maximum than 40 hours in a calendar month.

Is Buddings a licensed care provider in BC?

Definitely! Our license was issued in Nov. 2011, and we treat our good standing with Vancouver Coastal Health with utmost respect.

Is Buddings insured?

Yes! Buddings is fully insured for liability, fire and theft.

What does “Sustainable Living Focus” mean?

At Buddings, living sustainably means recognizing that our natural resources are not infinite; balancing our needs with our impact.

We believe teaching children to appreciate nature, their food, and where products come from can be incorporated into the learning environment. Our toys, books, art materials and snack time ingredients are all carefully selected for the lessons they teach and the questions they raise.

What is the Buddings Account?

The Buddings Account is the password protected user’s area of the website, where you can find information about the hours balance and usage, invoices and payment history, information on file about you and your child, and access to the booking calendar.

What Policies do I need to know?

All of them. Please read the Policies Section very carefully.

How do I apply to have my child “Become a Buddy”?

If you’re ready to apply, it’s as easy as 1, 2, 3. 🙂

  1. Fill in the online application form
  2. Attend an orientation date with centre staff, while your child checks out the centre.
  3. Set your password to access the Buddings Account, where the first bookings and payments may be made.

How much does Buddings cost?

Our program starts with a $10/monthly membership fee, and we have two levels of membership available:

Occasional Membership is $10/mo. and $20/hour

Regular Membership is $60/month and $15/hour.

Attendance of more than 10 hours per month is “regular.” For more occasional use… go with “occasional.” 🙂

Can I switch between Membership types?

Of course you can! To switch permanently, you can fill in the Switch Form by the 15th of the month. To change from Occasional to Regular for one month, all you have to do is buy Regular hours. We’ll bill you for Regular $60 Membership, and you can use Regular hours for the whole month, and go back to Occasional automatically.

Why is there a Membership Fee?

The membership fee covers access to the centre and our service, and allows families the flexibility of purchasing and booking time whenever they need. The recurring fees (automatically billed) keep the account open without minimum usage or deadlines. You only need to pay for the time you spend at the centre, and the membership makes it possible for us to provide you with a social and stimulating childcare with as little one hour’s notice.

Plus, the monthly receipts to your inbox are a reminder of our relationship. When you’re ready, don’t forget to cancel.

What if my child has trouble settling in?

We have a very successful strategy for helping new kids join our program, and your regular membership fee includes your first three hours, for Integration. Please ask us about it, if you have questions.

How do I add hours?

Choose the number of hours for the month from the Packages section of the Buddings Account and then pay with a credit card right there. The payments are processed through Elavon, the worlds largest credit card processor, and a receipt will be automatically emailed for your records.

What if I have unused hours at the end of the month?

If you have hours left at the end of the month, we will credit your account with new hours in the next month. They will be available on the 1st of the month, for a cost of 2 hours.

Why is there a 2 hour penalty for rolling hours into the next month?

Let’s call it a deterrent… We have a limited number of spaces in the centre, available to members to buy and use during the calendar month. At the end of the month, all the hours for that month expire, whether you used them or not.

But you bought them, and we want you to be able to use your hours. As a benefit of your membership (and included in the monthly fee), we provide hours in the next month for the ones you couldn’t use. Conceptually, these are new hours, in the new month, for which no additional hourly rate is charged.

Using all your hours within the month helps us meet everyone’s needs, without wasting spots.

Does Buddings offer discounts for families who refer new members?

Yes, we do. All new members are asked how they heard about the centre, and if it was through a friend, that member gets 3 hours free, for either the current or next month. It’s your choice! Our way of saying “Thank you” for bringing in your friends.

What are the hours of operation?

Buddings is open Monday to Friday from 8am to 6pm, and Saturdays from 10am to 4pm. We are closed on statutory holidays and long weekends. All our closures and special events are listed on our Google Calendar.

What Guardian Information is kept on file?

Contact information for one or more guardians is kept on file for the duration of your child’s registration with Buddings. This includes: name, contact phone and email, workplace and other pertinent information.

Most of it is collected on the application to Become a Buddy, with some more specific questions at the interview. Guardians can access and update the information through their Buddings Account. Find more information about the information we collect, and why, check out our Privacy Policy – found at the bottom of the Parent Login Page.

What Buddy Information is kept on file?

Specific information related to the needs and preferences of your child will be kept on file for the duration of their registration with Buddings. This includes: name, birthday, likes, dislikes, allergies, etc.

Are there any dates to remember?

Your membership fees and any owing snack invoices will be charged on the 25th of each month, but hours can be purchased anytime, in small batches or all at once, up to a total of 40 per month.

When we do bonuses or special offers, the deadline is always the 24th of the month.

When you’re ready to cancel your membership, the Exit form is due on the 15th of the month.

Roll-over hours are issued on the 1st of the month.

How do I book my time?

You make your reservations at Buddings through our online Booking Calendar. This is a live total of the available hours at the centre and tracks each child’s time, as well as keeps a history of the bookings that have passed. Did we mention you can book with as little as one hour’s notice, and cancel without penalty, if your plans change?

How long is the Waitlist?

We don’t have a waitlist. Once your child is 18 months old, you can start! Our program is monthly and we usually have spots coming available.

What types of snacks are provided at Buddings?

Snacks at Buddings are always healthy and delicious, made with seasonal and local ingredients, and exposing children to a variety of foods. Opting in for the daily snacks costs $2 and gives your child the opportunity to take part in cooking the food they’ll be eating.

Snack hours are 10:00am and 3:00pm. Meals are not provided at Buddings, so if your child will be here for lunch or dinner, please send along food for your child.

We do not have a ban on nuts or any other foods.

Snacks bills are on the 25th of the following month, and receipts are emailed to the Primary Guardian for the account.

What if I’m late to pick up my child?

We give families up to 10 minutes after every hour for pick ups. After 10 minutes, children who are still at the centre will be booked into the next hour. If hours are not available, we will either unbook an hour from later in the month, or bill you on the 25th of the month.

We always keep a couple of spots every hour for emergencies and late pick-ups. If it’s possible/convenient to call us to let us know, it’s great, as we will pass along the message, but if you’re stuck somewhere, don’t worry. We’ve got you covered.

What if I miss my booking?

Managing bookings is your responsibility. If your child is booked into the hour, we assume that you are on your way and will be ready for them when you arrive. Of course, plans do change and there are no penalties for unbooking your time – with as little as one hour’s notice. If you can’t get to a computer, you can always call the centre and let us know so we can unbook you but we do not automatically unbook hours, and cannot unbook hours that are passed or already in progress.

What if Buddings doesn’t work for me?

The beauty of Buddings is that your usage is completely up to you. Simply fill in the Switch/Exit Form before the 15th of your last month, to… switch or exit. If you return the swipe cards by the end of the month, we will settle your final invoices on the next 25th of the month, and send you a tax receipt in the following February.

Why doesn’t Buddings offer refunds for unused hours?

It depends on the hours. We don’t issue refunds for hours that can’t be re-sold, which means once the month has started, your hours are yours, to use by the end of the month. Hours rolled from a previous month cannot be refunded because they no longer exist. In some cases, at our discretion, if the month hasn’t yet begun, we can refund the hours you purchased.

What kind of curriculum does Buddings offer?

Buddings follows a child-centred, play-based curriculum, which means that lesson plans are developed around the interests of the children, and activities are led towards completion, rather than “taught.”

Because the lesson is in a format that the children want to follow, they learn much more naturally, taking in complex information about the world. They will be learning how materials can be combined to create works of art, how gravity and other physical forces act on objects, and valuable social rules for engaging with their peers. They will learn that through music and movement, stories, group games, and lots of self-guided exploring.

Further, they will be learning about the natural world, their place in it, and practical lessons on how to live in balance. Everyday that your child comes home from Buddings, they will have stories to tell and adventures to share.

What are the play areas and developmental zones at Buddings?

A visit to our centre will answer this question much better than an FAQ box, but if you haven’t made it down yet, you’ll be pleased to know that Buddings regularly offers a variety of learning opportunities, including:

  • Dramatic Play
  • House Corner
  • Block Area
  • Sand and Water Tables
  • Book Area
  • Tables for Puzzles and Manipulative Tasks
  • Kitchen Area
  • Music Centre
  • Arts and Crafts Area
  • Garden Area
  • Quiet Area
  • Group/Circle Time Area

On occasion, we’ll also have special activities that bring in even more opportunities for exploration.

Where can I find out more about the people who work at Buddings?

Find our staff bios and contact information on the Staff Page.

What is the Child Care Resource and Referral Centre?

The CCRR are resource centres throughout BC providing information for families on selecting childcare services, childcare centre ratings and complaints lists, and provide a forum for service providers to communicate and collaborate. For Vancouver, the centre is called West Coast Childcare Resource Centre, and can be found online at http://www.wstcoast.org/marketplace.html.

Buddings is proud to be a part of the community of childcare providers. Our staff will occasionally attend professional development workshops and seminars, and sometimes, we will even write reviews or otherwise share our knowledge on the blog. Please let us know if there’s a topic you think we should cover.

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