Thanks for thinking about Dandelion! We’ve included some basic information below and attached an application form. Please look over everything, let us know if you have any questions and if you think that our model might work for your family, send us your application!
After you send us your application, if applicable, our new members committee will meet with you (and your child) in our space to see if Dandelion and your family are a good fit. After this meeting, and upon consensus of the co-op members, your child will be placed on our waiting list for a space.
We are a parent-run childcare co-op, for children from 18 months to 5 years old.
Dandelion is ideal for families looking for part-time care (2-3 full days per week, 8:30 am-5 pm.) All member families work together to provide childcare that is nurturing, creative, and progressive. We have one amazing ECE caregiver who works with a duty parent each day, and only five kids at a time, so the caregiver to child ratio is very low - 2:5. All food is home-cooked, vegetarian, and as local and organic as possible within each family’s means. Our child-led programming includes lots of outdoor time, with a focus on the natural world, social justice and art.
Consider joining Dandelion if you would like to build a supportive community with other parents, the idea of working together to run a co-op appeals to you, and you are excited about learning how to best care for each child in our care with love, compassion and understanding. All kinds of families and family compositions are welcome.
What Dandelion is for Your Child:
A family-like environment with five children of varying ages. A large, sunny safe space to develop independence, self-reliance, and respect for others and the environment. Two to three hours outside play per day - long morning walks to different parks in all weather and play time in our outside yard in the afternoon. Sometimes we go on field trips. Amazing care from two adults, our incredible Early Childhood Educator and a volunteer duty parent.
What Dandelion is for You:
A welcoming and supportive space for your whole family, not just your child. By working together to run Dandelion and care for our children together, we build strong bonds and a caring community. As member parents, we each take on specific roles in order to run the administration for the co-op, as well as take turns working as caregivers on our duty days alongside our ECE caregiver. For every day our child is in care, we work one duty day (as ‘Duty Parent’) every 5 weeks. If your child is in care two days a week, this would mean doing a duty day twice in every 5 week rotation. The schedule for duty days works best for families with some flexibility in their schedules. Duty days are done on a day when your child is in care, so alternative childcare arrangements do not need to be made. Duty Parents also provide food for those days: vegetarian (as organic and local as is within your family’s means), two snacks, and a hot lunch for two adults and five children.
What we CAN do:
Provide a safe and welcoming community for your family, with a focus on social justice and caring for the environment, that celebrates diversity, is LGBTQ positive, and welcomes all families of all compositions
Provide a fun, caring, supportive environment for your child that fosters empathy, engagement with the world, and resilience
Feed your child healthy vegetarian food with a protein at each meal (note: this includes limited amounts of wheat and dairy)
Help teach your child interpersonal skills in a small, family-like atmosphere that will help them navigate their world today and prepare them for school later on
What we CAN’T do:
Accommodate special dietary restrictions outside of our existing food policy (food is prepared by member families in their home kitchens)
Guarantee care on specific days of the week when you first join (existing members have first choice on which days their kids are in care, so if you join, you would eventually get the exact days of care you need)
Promise that every day will be easy for your child. Learning to negotiate, share, and communicate is a big developmental step for young children, but we provide a safe space for children to learn from these challenges to develop crucial interpersonal skills.
The daily fees $55 per day paid by electronic fund transfer at the beginning of the month.
We also have two other one-time fees when families join the Co-op: reserve fees ($100 per day of care per week, refundable when your family leaves) and start-up fees ($100 per day of care per week, non-refundable) which are paid when joining the Co-op. If your child is in care 2 days per week you would pay $200 reserve fees and $200 start-up fees. If necessary, the one-time fees can be paid over the first three months in care.
We are in a large bright space with windows on three sides, just north of Bloor on Dovercourt, close to Ossington subway in the west end of Toronto.
Thank you for your interest in joining the Dandelion Co-op. We welcome families of all sizes and compositions. Please take some time to fill out our application and tell us a little more about your family.
In helping us select a new family for the Co-op, we hope that you will take some time to answer a few questions. This will give us an opportunity to tell you a little more about the Co-op and to learn more about you and your family.
We are a group of parents who have been working cooperatively to create a childcare space for our children that is nurturing and based on principles of social justice. We came together because of our shared desire to be involved in our children’s care. We feel very strongly that this is not a simple childcare solution. Rather, it is a serious commitment of our time, energy, creativity and patience. Working with children in this setting is not for everyone. We feel, however, that it can be a very rewarding way of being with our children and their peers by being engaged in their growth and development.
We are creating a space that is intentionally:
Honouring of the natural world and conscious of the environment
Focussed on building strength and resilience in children
Natural and healthy through the provision of as much organic and locally grown food as possible
Welcoming and accommodating to the different needs of our children
Promoting/ integrating/ involved in social justice
Open to learning and working with conflict
Child centred and relationship prioritizing
Structured to foster a strong commitment between the families involved
Safe and predictable, but able to accommodate individual needs of the children
Subversive of gender stereotypes
Anti-racist and anti-oppressive
Respectful and inclusive of all kinds of families and family compositions
The co-op is open 5 days per week from 8:45am-5:30pm. Each family is required to do “duty days” in the co-op alongside a childcare worker. Part-time families will contribute on a pro-rated basis. The ratio is 5 children to 2 adults.
On their duty day, parents will be required to provide lunch and snacks for all the children in care that day.
In addition to being responsible for duty days, each family will also be required to attend regular monthly meetings and contribute their time to maintaining and running the co-op by joining a committee or taking on tasks such as scheduling, finances, programming, member relations, inventory.
In addition to paying for childcare days, each family will be required to purchase a share (start-up and reserve fees) to join the co-op. This money will go towards materials, last month’s rent deposit, etc., part of which will be refunded when the family leaves.
Costs are approximately $55 for each day of care.