early Year Home Banner

Building Equipment and Playground

Compliance With Health and Safety Standards, Building Code, etc.

Prior to a licence being issued, documentation from relevant bodies must be obtained to demonstrate that the child care premises complies with:

  • Laws affecting the health of the inhabitants of the municipality or the reserve of a First Nation.
  • Any rule, regulation, direction or order of the local Board of Health or order of the local Medical Officer of Health that may affect the provision of child care.
  • Any municipal or council of the First Nation on Reserve by-law or any other law for the protection of persons from fire hazards.
  • Any building by-law passed by the municipality pursuant to the Planning Act or any predecessor of that Act and any by-law of the council of the First Nation on the reserve to regulate the construction, repair or use of buildings.
  • Requirements of the Building Code made under the Building Code Act, where applicable.
  • Requirements of the Fire Code made under the Fire Protection and Prevention Act, 1997, where applicable.
  • Requirements of the Safe Drinking Water Act, where applicable.

When a child care centre is located in a publicly funded school and serves children ages 4 and older, the centre will be considered as part of the school, and the building and accommodation standards and requirements that apply to the school will also apply to the child care centre. These providers are not required to provide additional documentation regarding requirements made through local bylaws regarding the construction, repair, or use of buildings and under the Building Code Act, Fire Protection and Prevention Act.

Counter space with sanitation materials and signage highlighted

REGULATION

Section 13 of Ontario Regulation 137/15 - General

CONNECTIONS TO HOW DOES LEARNING HAPPEN?

Children, families, and educators are comfortable, safe, and have a sense of over-all well-being when the environment is intentionally designed to meet health and safety requirements.

A safe and healthy environment supports children’s growing independence and ability to explore, tackle challenges safely and learn about the world around them.

Designated Spaces

Child care centres must have space allocated for:

  • Washing, dressing, and toileting
  • Storing toys, indoor play materials, and equipment
  • Storing food
  • Storing required records
  • Storing medical supplies, cleaning materials, and equipment and other hazardous substance
  • Heating and electrical equipment

Medical supplies, cleaning materials, equipment and other hazardous substances, and heating and electrical equipment must be inaccessible to children.

If the child care program runs for six hours or more in a day, the child care centre must also have space allocated for:

  • Eating and resting
  • The preparation of food, if meals are prepared at the child care centre
  • Storage for beds and linen
  • A staff rest area
  • Storage for outdoor play equipment
  • Office area
  • Outdoor play

When a child care centre is located in a school and serves children 4 years and older, the centre will be considered as part of the school, and the designated space standards and requirements that apply to the school will also apply to the child care centre.

Entry to child care room with storage space highlighted

REGULATION

Section 15 of Ontario Regulation 137/15 - General

CONNECTIONS TO HOW DOES LEARNING HAPPEN?

When designing the space consider:

Ways to ensure that the environment provides comfort and meets children’s needs related to rest, play, and nutrition.

How the environment can support children’s self-care skills and growing independence to promote a sense of competence.

How the staff area can be not only a place for rest but also can support educators in reflection, collaboration and discussion.

For some examples of how to set up the environment in a way that reflects the key ideas of How Does Learning Happen?, see the research brief and video on “Learning Environment” in Think, Feel, Act: Lessons from Research about Young Children

Play Activity Space and Rooms

Infant Room

There must be a separate play activity room based on the licensed capacity for each group of 10 infants.

The play activity space must be at least 2.8 square metres (30 square feet) of unobstructed floor space for each child based on licensed capacity.

A sleeping area separated from the play activity space must be provided for each 10 infants or less based on licensed capacity.

Infant room with floor dimension highlighted

Toddler Room

There must be a separate play activity room based on the licensed capacity for each group of 15 toddlers.

The play activity space must be at least 2.8 square metres (30 square feet) of unobstructed floor space for each child based on licensed capacity.

Toddler Room with floor dimension highlighted

Preschool Room

There must be a separate play activity room based on the licensed capacity for each group of 24 preschool children.

The play activity space must be at least 2.8 square metres of unobstructed floor space for each child based on licensed capacity.

Preschool Room with floor dimension highlighted

Kindergarten Room

There must be a separate play activity area based on the licensed capacity for each group of kindergarten children.

The play activity space must be at least 2.58 square metres (approximately 28 square feet) of unobstructed floor space for each child based on licensed capacity.

A ministry director may approve a smaller amount of space than 2.58 square metres for a child care centre located in a school as long as the room or area is used by the school for children who are of the same age category as the licensed age group.

Kindergarten room  with floor dimension highlighted

Primary School age Room

There must be a separate play activity area based on the licensed capacity for each group of primary school age children unless otherwise approved by a ministry director.

The play activity space must be at least 2.58 square metres (approximately 28 square feet) of unobstructed floor space for each child based on licensed capacity.

A ministry director may approve a smaller amount of space than 2.58 square metres for a child care centre located in a school as long as the room or area is used by the school for children who are of the same age category as the licensed age group.

School-age children often share space arrangements with community centres and schools. Where possible, such programs should include at least some exclusive-use space.

Primary school-age room with floor dimension highlighted

Junior School age Room

There must be a separate play activity area based on the licensed capacity for each group of junior school age children unless otherwise approved by a ministry director.

The play activity space must be at least 2.58 square metres (approximately 28 square feet) of unobstructed floor space for each child based on licensed capacity.

A ministry director may approve a smaller amount of space than 2.58 square metres for a child care centre located in a school as long as the room or area is used by the school for children who are of the same age category as the licensed age group.

School-age children often share space arrangements with community centres and schools. Where possible, such programs should include at least some exclusive-use space.

Junior school-age room with floor dimension highlighted

REGULATION

Section 16 and 17 of Ontario Regulation 137/15 – General

CONNECTIONS TO HOW DOES LEARNING HAPPEN?

Adequate play activity space helps to ensure there is flexibility for movement and opportunities for connections and relationships. Play activity areas provide rich environments and allow for investigation, exploration, and positive interaction.

When designing a play activity room, consider:

  • How can children and families be engaged in shaping the play activity room?
  • How can the space be arranged to allow children to make choices?
  • How can the space accommodate children’s varied needs for independent play, small group interactions, active and quiet experiences?

Play Materials, Equipment and Furnishings 

Play Materials

Play materials must be sufficient to serve the licensed capacity and of sufficient variety to allow for regular rotation of the play materials in active use.

Play materials must be available and accessible to the children throughout the day and be appropriate for the learning and development of each child.

The play materials must be of such type and design to allow the children to make choices and to encourage exploration, play, and inquiry.

All equipment must be maintained in a safe and clean condition as well as kept in a good state of repair.

Child care room with couch and bookshelf

Equipment and Furnishings

For toddlers and infants, provide a change table or counter space next to a sink and suitable for dressing or changing the diaper of one child at a time.

There must be one change table for every 15 toddlers and one change table for every 10 infants based on licensed capacity.

For each infant to rest comfortably, one cradle or crib is required that complies with the Cribs, Cradles and Bassinets Regulations under the Canada Consumer Product Safety Act.

There must be one cot for each toddler that receives child care for six hours or more.

There must be one cot for each preschool child that receives child care for six hours or more unless otherwise approved by a ministry director.

Play materials, equipment, and furnishings must be in a safe and clean condition at all times.

There must be adequate storage available for all play materials.

Outdoor play equipment

REGULATION

Section 19 of Ontario Regulation 137/15 - General

SAMPLE FORMS

Infant Room Disinfecting Schedule

Toddler Room Disinfecting Schedule

Preschool Room Disinfecting Schedule

CONNECTIONS TO HOW DOES LEARNING HAPPEN?

Consider ways that How Does Learning Happen? can support decision-making in terms of the types of equipment, furnishings and play materials provided, for example:

  • How do the play materials and equipment demonstrate an understanding of each child as competent, capable of complex thinking, curious and rich in potential?
  • What possibilities for complex thinking and creativity are offered through the materials?
  • How can the space be arranged to foster positive interactions and collaboration among children?
  • How do the materials and equipment challenge children to take manageable risks that will foster a sense of competence and mastery?
  • Are the play materials and equipment accessible to children throughout the day?
  • Are the play materials and equipment provided appropriate to support the learning and development of each child in the room?

Consider ways to use diapering and washroom routines as a time for connecting with children, engaging in communication and responsive interaction.

First or Second Storey

In order to ensure safety and ease of access, each room used by infants, toddlers, preschool children, kindergarten children and by children with special needs must be on or below the second storey, unless otherwise approved by a ministry director.

Entry door to childcare centre

REGULATION

Section 20 of Ontario Regulation 137/15 - General

Window Glass, Lighting, and Temperature 

Every child care licensee (other than those licensed for the first time after December 31, 1983) that has a program that runs for six hours or more each day must ensure their window sizes comply with requirements of the Building Code. (i.e. glass windows must have an area that is at least equivalent to 10 per cent of the floor area of the play activity room).

For programs serving licensed kindergarten and older age groups, window sizes are based on the same requirements as those that apply to the school in which the program is located.

Artificial illumination in each play activity room must have a level of at least 55 dekalux.

The temperature must be maintained at a level of at least 20 degrees Celsius.

Child care window facing outside

REGULATION

Sections 21, 22 and 23 of Ontario Regulation 137/15 - General

CONNECTIONS TO HOW DOES LEARNING HAPPEN?

The window glass provides an opportunity for children to connect their indoor and outdoor worlds and exposes children to natural light.

Consider ways to support children as they develop connections and theories about what they observe and notice outside throughout the day and seasons.

The quality of the lighting and the temperature of the room help ensure children’s, educators’, and families’ well-being and comfort.

Outdoor Play Space 

For child care centres that operate for 6 hours or more a day, outdoor play space must be at least 5.6 square metres (60 square feet) for each child based on licensed capacity, unless otherwise approved by a ministry director.

A playground must be provided that is at ground level and next to the centre unless otherwise approved by a ministry director. 

Outdoor play space must be designed so that the staff can maintain constant supervision of all the children.

Space must be designated for storage of outdoor play equipment.

Each fenced outdoor play space is limited to 64 children

If the playground is used by infants, toddlers, or preschool children the fence must have a minimum height of 1.2 metres (4 feet).

Fencing must be in good condition and it must not present any danger for children, e. g. no splintering, no rust, no sharp ends or edges. There should be no gaps between the fence and building structures to avoid injuries and form a safe boundary.

The playground must have one or more gates that are securely closed at all times, unless otherwise approved by a ministry director.

When a child care centre is located in a school and serves children 4 years and older, the centre will be considered as part of the school, and outdoor play space standards and requirements that apply to the school will also apply to the child care centre.

Every child care licensee shall ensure that any outdoor play space, fixed play structures and surfacing under those structures that is constructed or renovated on or after August 29, 2016 meets the requirements set out in the Canadian Standards Association standard CAN/CSA-Z614-14, “Children’s play spaces and equipment”.

Every child care licensee shall ensure that a playground safety policy is developed that reflects the Canadian Standards Association standard CAN/CSA-Z614-14, and indicates the roles and responsibilities of employees regarding safety on playgrounds. Licensees must also ensure that daily, monthly and annual inspections of the outdoor play space, fixed play structures and surfacing are conducted in accordance with the Canadian Standards Association standard CAN/CSA-Z614-14. Additionally licensees must ensure a plan is developed on how issues or problems identified in a playground inspection will be addressed and a playground repair log must be maintained.

In each premises where the licensee oversees the provision of home child care, no child under six years old is permitted to have access to any standing or recreational body of water on the premises. If a licensee that oversees the provision of home child care permits children who are six years old or older to use or have access to a standing or recreational body of water, the licensee shall ensure that, at all times when the children use or have access to the body of water, a lifeguard is present who meets the requirements made under the Health Protection and Promotion Act; and have written policies and procedures regarding children’s use of and access to the body of water.

Outdoor play space with tricycle

REGULATION

Section 24 of Ontario Regulation 137/15 - General

SAMPLE FORMS

Daily Playground Inspection

Monthly Playground Inspection

Playground Repair Log

Playground Injury Log

CONNECTIONS TO HOW DOES LEARNING HAPPEN?

Safe and stimulating outdoor spaces support children’s active exploration, play, and inquiry. When designing outdoor spaces, consider:

  • How can the outdoor space provide opportunities for complex exploration and inquiry?
  • How can the outdoor space support children’s connections with the natural world and to their community?
  • How can outdoor play space provide an appropriate amount of independence that reflects a view of children as competent and capable to foster children’s growing sense of competence and mastery?