Daycare, transportation and lunch

Daycare, transportation and lunch
There are several things to plan before your child starts kindergarten. Will they go to daycare? Will they take the school bus? What will happen at lunchtime?

There are several things to plan before your child starts kindergarten. Will they go to daycare? Will they take the school bus? What will happen at lunchtime? It’s best to find out as much as you can so you can plan ahead.


Most elementary schools offer a daycare service for children outside school hours. You can leave your child there in the morning (usually from 6:30–7 a.m.), at lunch and after school (usually until 6 p.m.). If you choose to use the daycare service, you’ll need to register your child, ideally before the start of the school year. Schools often provide the necessary papers for this when you enrol your child in kindergarten, either in June or in early August.

Your child can attend the school daycare on a regular basis, i.e. a minimum of three days per week for at least two periods each day (morning, lunch or after school). The cost set by the government for this service is $8.55 per day in 2021.

If you plan to send your child to daycare less than three days per week, or for only one period per day (e.g. after school only), you have the option to do so. The cost of occasional (sporadic) attendance varies from one school to the next, since it is set by either the governing board or the school service centre.

In daycare, the number of children for each monitor should not exceed 17 for 4-year-olds and 20 for 5-year-olds. Your child will participate in different activities, including crafts, free play with the other children and games in the schoolyard. Your child’s group will most likely include kindergarten students only. In a small school where there are fewer students, however, kindergartners may be mixed with first-grade students.

School buses

School boards provide free bus transportation for students. However, if you live very close to the school, your child may not be entitled to this service. The distance criteria are set according to the child’s age and vary from one centre to the next. A school service centre may, for example, decide that only kindergarten students living further than 400 metres from the school are entitled to take the school bus.

You will find out more about how the school buses work when you register your child for kindergarten. If applicable, a letter will be sent to you before the start of the school year indicating your school bus number, bus-stop location and what time your child will be picked up.

If you have shared custody, check with your school service centre to see whether your child may be picked up and dropped off at two different addresses.


If you’re home, your child can go home for lunch. In that case, it’s up to you to provide transportation. If your child is registered at daycare, they will eat with their group. Schools also offer a supervision service, at a fee, for children who eat at school, but who are not registered with the daycare. If there isn’t enough room in the school for all the students to eat at the same time, there may be two lunch periods assigned. Therefore, one group of children plays outside while the other group eats their lunch.

Student lunches are not necessarily stored in a fridge. The facilities vary from one school to the next, so it’s a good idea to put an icepack in your child’s lunch box. Microwave ovens may not always be available either. Not all schools allow students to reheat their food. Look into this ahead of time and consider using a thermos. Some schools also have catering services, offering the option of hot meals to their students.

School supplies
Even in kindergarten, there are school supplies to buy such as pencils, erasers, glue and workbooks for drawing and making cut-outs. You should receive the list of supplies in June or August. The cost for these supplies varies from one school to the next. However, the school must provide most of the supplies needed, such as tissues, paint, and playdough, free of charge.

Things to keep in mind

  • Schools offer a daycare service to children who stay in school outside school hours.
  • School service centres provide free bus transportation for students who meet the criteria.
  • At lunchtime, your child can go home for lunch or stay at school.


Naître et grandir

Scientific review: Mélanie Lemieux, Educational Development and Daycar Technician, Centre de services scolaires des Bois-Francs
Research and copywriting:
The Naître et grandir team
Updated: December 2021


Useful links and resources

Please note that hyperlinks to other websites are not updated regularly, and some may have changed since publication. If a link is no longer valid, use search engines to find the relevant information.


Books for parents

  • Au retour de l’école... La place des parents dans l’apprentissage scolaire, 3e édition, M.-C. Béliveau, Éditions du CHU Sainte-Justine, 2019, 272 p.
  • Les grandes émotions des tout-petits, S. Bourque, Éditions Midi trente, 2020, 144 p.
  • Petit Loup entre à l’école, S. Bourque, Éditions Midi trente, 2012, 96 p.
  • Petit Loup se sent bien à l’école, S. Bourque, Éditions Midi trente, 2015, 96 p.

Books for kids

  • 1,2,3 à l’école, M. Dubuc, Casterman, 2020, 32 p.
  • À l’école, les grands!, texte: A. M. Bergeron, ill.: Maco, Éditions Imagine, 2012, 32 p.
  • Allons à l’école, texte: L. Charlesworth, ill.: M. Baker, Éditions Scholastic, 2015, 16. p.
  • En route pour l’école, collectif, Éditions Hemma, 2015, 16 p.
  • Gédéon va à l’école, L. Wall, Éditions Scholastic, 2014, 24 p.
  • J’adore l’école! texte : R. Munsch, ill. : D. Whamond, Éditions Scholastic, 2020, 32 p.
  • J’aime la maternelle avec Biscuit et Cassonade, C. Munger et C. Chabot, Éditions de la Bagnole, 2018, 48 p.
  • Je ne veux pas aller à l’école, texte : E. Abécassis, ill.: A. Siroy, Éditions Thomas Jeunesse, 2013, 28 p.
  • Je suis capable! C’est la rentrée, D. Pelletier, Éditions Scholastic, 2015, 24. p.
  • Je veux pas aller à l’école, S. Blake, École des loisirs, 2011
  • La grande école, ton album de la rentrée, texte : J. Rochefort, ill. : J Morin, Éditions Fonfon, 2011, 32 p.
  • La rentrée de Gaston, S. Yoon, Éditions Scholastic, 2016, 40 p.
  • La rentrée de papa, M. Wohnoutka, Éditions Scholastic, 2015, 40 p.
  • La rentrée de Roudoudou, C. Bielinsky, Bayard Jeunesse, 2019, 26 p.
  • Le monstre des couleurs va à l’école, A. Llenas, éditions Quatre fleuves, 2019, 38 p.
  • Le premier jour d’école de Madame Pépin, texte: P. Robbins Janousky, ill.: M. Lands, Éditions Scholastic, 2017, 32 p.
  • Les Monsieur Madame et la rentrée des classes, A. Hargreaves, Hachette, 2018, 40 p.
  • Pat le chat : J’adore aller à l’école, texte: É. Litwin, ill. J. Dean, Éditions Scholastic, 2014, 40 p. 
  • Princesse Paola à la maternelle, texte: J. Couëlle, ill.: M. Arbona, Éditions Planète rebelle, 2012, 32 p.
  • Roi de la maternelle, texte : D. D. Barns, ill.: V. B. Newton, Éditions Scholastic, 2020, 32 p.
  • Qui sera mon professeur?, texte: J. Pallotta, ill.: D. Biedrzycki, Éditions Scholastic, 2014, 32 p.
  • Qui m’amènera à l’école cette année?, texte: J. Pallotta, ill.: D. Biedrzycki, Éditions Scholastic, 2015, 32 p.
  • Sam apprend à aimer l’école, texte: S. Martel, ill.: C. Battuz, Dominique et compagnie, 2010, 24 p.


Photo : Nicolas St-Germain