Goals Of The Program
Our goals aim to take a holistic approach to supporting the four foundations for learning laid out in the Ministry’s ‘How Does Learning Happen?’ document. These foundations support the child’s emotional, social, physical and cognitive development as a whole.
Our intention is to:
- promote a strong sense of belonging
- create responsive-inclusive nurturing environment for a healthy well-being
- foster learning through play and inquiry as well as engagement with the natural world
- encourage positive relationships and expressive, respectful communication
- plan for, and co-create, positive experiences, where each child’s development and needs are support to the fullest
We support the children’s health and well-being in a variety of ways. This includes fresh, wholesome in-house meals prepared daily by our cook. They include a morning snack, a hot lunch and afternoon snack in accordance with Canada’s Food guide and reviewed yearly by a registered dietician and nutritionist.
Ongoing communication with our families is very important to us as it helps us to better support the children’s individual needs. Written daily records, verbal conversations, and individual portfolios highlight children’s development and accomplishments. Pedagogical documentation allows educators to reflect and understand children’s thinking, further promoting the reflective practice of our program and the development of educators.
Positive learning spaces are created throughout the room setup, while spontaneous and planned experiences utilize the environment as the third teacher. These spaces help to create a balance between child-initiated and adult-supported experiences. These include areas such as dramatic play, science and nature, sensory and creative art, gross motor movement, book areas, and small and large group experiences. Effective learning through play is achieved through observation, inquiry, and intentional and reflective programming, with the children taking an active role in this process.
Children have opportunities to engage with nature both indoors and outdoors. Richard Louv (2008) writes of the growing research about the importance of natural environments for children’s mental, physical, emotional and spiritual health (HDLH, p.21). A minimum of two hours is spent outside each day with a combination of free play and thoughtfully planned experiences.
Active and quiet experiences are part of the rhythm and routine of the day. Children are given time to sleep, rest and/or engage in active and quiet activities during the day, based on their individual developmental needs. We see our environment as the third teacher and as the Ministry’s Think, Feel, Act document states, “we are supporting children’s growing autonomy and independence, allowing opportunities for positive self-regulation and building resilience” (2013, p.21)
We encourage children to express their feelings and support them in developing self-regulatory skills in a positive way. At the College of Early Childhood Educators writes in their practice guidelines, “We need to view responsive relationships as paramount, understanding that supporting children’s internal capacity to self-regulate and engage in positive interactions is the goal. As co-learners, collaborators, keen observers and intentional communicators, registered early childhood educators (RECEs) support positive interactions with children rather than manage or direct behavior.” (2016, p.1) Our staff is trained to utilize positive redirection strategies that encourage the children to reflect on their behaviour in a manner that does not degrade them. This is accomplished through a variety of redirection opportunities based on the situation and the individual needs of the child.