1. To Creat a sense of Belonging
Our goal for each child is to create a sense of belonging, and connectedness to others and to their natural world. We focus on creating positive, caring, and responsive relationships between educators, children and their families in an inclusive environment which permits children to see themselves, their families and their communities represented.
We recognize the importance of family in the lives of children and understand that a strong partnership reinforces our ability to meet the needs of each child. We recognize and respect parents as experts on their children. Through close collaboration and information sharing we ensure that each family is a valuable contributor to their child’s sense of belonging, development and growth.
Children’s lives and sense of belonging is also effected by community involvement and participation. Community is also important in the lives of our families and as a result, we find ways of bringing the local community into the daily experiences of children and families. We also work closely with various community partners and agencies linking parents to needed services and supporting their and their children’s mental health and well-being.
2. TO CREATE A SENSE OF WELL-BEING
It is our goal to help each child build and support their overall sense of self, health and well- being. Our educators establish a pattern of responsive and consistent care and encourage children to interact and communicate with each other in a positive way. Through various learning opportunities children not only learn how to develop self-competence and self-worth but also begin to grasp the concept of cooperation and sharing as well as understanding the feelings of others.
Nutrition and Health
As children are beginning to form their sense of self and develop impressions around health and physical well-being, we place great value on being positive, motivating role models. We nurture the well-being of the whole child by not only providing children with nutritious meals and snacks but also by establishing positive attitudes during meal-times and allowing children the opportunity to serve themselves.
Three snacks (morning, afternoon, evening) and a hot lunch are provided for the children each day. The Centre uses a catering service (La Recolte Catering) for food provision. The nutritional content of our menus reflects our adherence to Canada’s Food Guide and is approved annually by a registered Dietician. In addition, children are exposed to various food experiences in their own classroom which introduce a variety of foods from diverse cultures and regions.
Children are provided with regular opportunities to be physically active. They not only engage in two hours of programmed outdoor gross motor activities daily but also participate in various music and movement activities in their individual classrooms. Extracurricular fitness and movement programs are also offered.
Each child’s well-being is further supported by a flexible daily schedule which is sensitive to their biological rhythms and provides a balance of quiet and active experiences, individual and group experiences as well as indoor and outdoor play. Care routines such as eating, toileting, diapering, sleeping and dressing provide opportunities for learning about self-care and allow children to practice essential self-help skills. Children’s health and well-being is monitored and documented daily and any concerns are immediately communicated with families.
3. TO CREATE A SENSE OF ENGAGMENT
It is our goal to help children become active and engaged learners who learn and explore the world around them with all of their senses. We provide child-initiated and adult-supported activities which foster children’s exploration, play and inquiry. Play is how children learn to make sense of the world. Our play-based approach to learning capitalizes on a child’s natural curiosity and exuberance, stimulating physical, social, emotional and cognitive development. Through play, children enthusiastically and confidently explore and construct ideas about the world and develop skills such as problem solving and creative thinking.
Our emergent curriculum is a curriculum that develops from exploring what is relevant, interesting and personally meaningful to each child. By observing children at play and documenting their knowledge, our educators carefully select learning experiences which allow children to learn about themselves and the world around them through investigation and discovery. We plan our curriculum based on the children’s individual interests and developmental goals. We engage the whole child, based on the understanding that each learner is a unique individual who brings mind, body, emotions, relationships, and life experiences to learning.
Ongoing evidence of each child’s learning is documented through weekly observations, photographs and portfolios and serves as a form of reinforcement of the leaning process for RECEs, families and children. It is through careful reflection and interpretation of observation and conversations with children and also their families that lead RECEs to carefully plan a curriculum.
Our RECEs have specialized training in infant and child development, children’s health, safety, nutrition and wellness, as well as curriculum planning and implementation. All staff members are also required to successfully complete a police check (Vulnerable Sector Search) upon hiring, as well as keep current with First Aid and CPR training.Our Registered Early Childhood Educators (RECEs) and support staff play avital role in helping to enhance children’s participation, engagement and learning. They bring diverse social, cultural, linguistic perspectives and collaborate with others to create engaging environments and experiences to foster children’s learning and development. They are actively involved in the children’s learning process, acting as co-learners and co-partners who engage with children in play, empower them and facilitate their exploration and understanding of the world.
4. TO CREATE A SENSE OF EXPRESSION
It is our goal to help children become great communicators who not only express themselves but also know how to listen. Helping children to communicate begins with our educators who facilitate communication by not only responding to children’s verbal and non-verbal cues but also help children to listen and express themselves to each other. Opportunities for further language development are also provided through the exploration of our literacy rich environments which support children’s growing communication skills and build a foundation for literacy learning.
Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
At Grace Church on-the-hill Childcare Centre we value a diverse, connected childcare community in which all members feel known, understood, respected and supported as active participants. We believe that all children have a right to live and learn in an equitable environment. We provide an inclusive atmosphere which embraces diversity and attempts to represent it through everyday learning experiences and opportunities.
We believe that every child needs to see themselves represented in their classroom setting. We put great effort into ensuring that our educational materials and experiences are inclusive, diverse and reflective of the families in our Centre. We are conscious that we are respectful and appreciative of all differences including appearance, age, culture, ethnicity, race, language, gender, sexual orientation, religion, family environment and developmental abilities.
As children come to us from all backgrounds, we also strive to establish a foundation for second
language development and new knowledge by supporting home culture and first language
learning. We do our best to respect and support each child’s and families native language
through books, songs as well as introducing some known words from home. Hearing familiar
words throughout the day comforts children and helps to bridge the gap between home and
the childcare setting.