To provide equitable access to high quality child-care, for parents and children across the Region. 

“A sense of belonging is supported when each child’s unique spirit, individuality, and presence are valued”
(How Does Learning Happen? p. 24).

The Waterloo Region District School Board (WRDSB) extended day program is complementary to the core kindergarten program and aligned with it in order to provide a seamless and consistent experience for children.  The extended day program offers play based pedagogy and makes use of shared resources and shared common spaces to create a seamless system of early learning for children and families.

WRDSB believes that all children should have access to before and after school programs and is committed to expanding before and after school programs in every school. Parents can register for full-time or part-time care. Offering affordable, accessible, flexible programs to meet the needs of all families is an important part of a responsive, supportive system that promotes child and family well-being. There may be times when a wait list is implemented due to staffing challenges. If a space opens up, places will be offered in priority of application date.

Guiding Principles

The extended day program is guided by How Does Learning Happen?: Ontario’s Pedagogy for the early Years (HDLH). Consistent with HDLH it is expected that school board-operated programs will be guided by the following principles:

  • View of the Child: All students are competent, capable of complex thinking, curious and rich in potential. Environments and experiences allow students to exercise choice and respond to individual abilities and interests.
  • Positive Interactions: Programs support students in making connections with their peers and staff in structured and unstructured interactions as well as provide opportunities for students to engage in independent activities. All students, including students with differing abilities feel valued, connected to others, and are able to make positive contributions to the group, community and natural world.
  • Developmentally Responsive: All students are able to participate fully in ways that are most comfortable for them. Programs support physical and mental health and wellness, and are rooted in an understanding of child development and the broader contexts within which this development is happening (e.g. local, social, cultural, economic).
  • Safe, Inclusive Spaces: Programs establish and maintain positive, harassment/discrimination free environments for optimal participant growth so that students, each with differing abilities, interests and perspectives feel that their experiences and strength are valued.


Learn More about Before & After Programs at the WRDSB

Extended Day programs operated by the WRDSB offer before and after school care for children in Jk to Gr.2. Youth Development programs operated by community partners (third party operators) offer before and after school care for children in Gr.3 to Gr. 6. At schools with co-located child care centres, our community partners provide the before and after school program for children.

This short video segment provides children, parents, and others with an opportunity to visit several before and after school sites, hear from program educators and learn all about our extended day programs!

Background Information

Beginning September 2017, school boards are required to ensure the provision of before and after school programs (i.e. school board-operated and third party programs) in each elementary school in Ontario for students in kindergarten to grade 6 where there is sufficient demand. School boards are required to comply with the provisions for before and after school programs set out under Part IX.1 of the Education Act, Regulation 221/11 entitled “Extended Day and Third Party Programs,” as well as the guidelines outlined in the Before and After School Programs Policies and Guidelines for School Boards issued by the Ministry of Education in January 2017.

Kindergarten and before and after school programs are key parts of the broader provincial vision for “a system of responsive, high-quality, accessible, and increasingly integrated early years programs and services that contribute to healthy child development today and a stronger future tomorrow” (Ontario’s Renewed Early Years and Child Care Policy Framework, 2017). Greater integration between child care, early learning and education services was also highlighted as a central component of the ministry’s commitment to the success and well-being of every student and child in the ministry’s strategic plan for education  (Early Years and Child Care Annual Report 2017).

Early Years Legislation, and Regulations 

The Child Care and Early Years Act (2014)

The Education Act

Ont. Regulation 221/11 Extended Day and Third Party Programs

Ministry of Education Policy Memoranda