'Emergent Curriculum' refers to a process of teaching and learning that builds upon the interests of the children. Following the lead of the children, the educators and children explore ideas and theories in considerable depth and detail. The children's families and their community are invited to support the process. Children use 'projects' to explore their understandings of the world and the way it works and then express those understanding using the 'Hundred Languages of Children' – some of which might be art, drama, music, puppetry and storytelling. As they transfer knowledge from concrete experience to one or more 'languages', children develop a deeper understanding of the experience as well as find new questions to explore.
Young children learn the most important things not by being told, but by constructing knowledge for themselves in interaction with the physical world and with other children - and the way they do
Play is the realization of the foundational principle of early childhood education - that children learn by doing. Children need to play to learn and a developmentally appropriate curriculum must be play based. Play based experiences which are carefully planned and implemented facilitate development in creative arts, science and discovery, language and literacy, daily living, social/emotional and cognitive/problem solving. Children are efficient learners when they have the opportunity to participate in active, hands- on experiences presented in a play based discovery model.
The most effective kind of education is that a child should play amongst lovely things.
Field trips are an important way for children to experience their community. Field trips can serve a variety of purposes, such as exposing children to new things or helping children to see familiar things in new ways. Some trips may be walking trips to places near the centre. Other trips may require us to use public transportation or a rented bus. We will provide a minimum of 24 hours notice for trips. You are welcome to join us on these trips and we appreciate your help.
We believe that the role of the early childhood education program is to work in partnership with families. We support families as parents attend school and work by creating an environment where everyone feels welcome to participate in ways that strengthen the partnership. A strong relationship is an essential part of supporting children’s learning and development.
Call it a clan, call it a network, call it a tribe, call it a family: whatever you call it, whoever you are, you need one.
The environment, both indoors and outdoors, is viewed as another teacher in the program. The environment influences the behaviour and mood of the people in it - telling the children that this is a welcoming space. It shows children that they belong, that creativity and exploration are encouraged, that relationships are nurtured and the natural environment is valued. The work of the children is displayed, materials are accessible and the children’s interests and their family connections are reflected in the environment. There is an underlying order and beauty in the design and organization of the environment. It is aesthetically pleasing and creates a feeling of home.
A teacher affects eternity; he can never tell where his influence stops.
Developmentally Appropriate Practice
Developmentally appropriate practice is a method of organizing the program/curriculum so that it is reflective of each child’s age, individual stage of development and his/her cultural background. Developmentally appropriate programs involve children and educators in a variety of strategies including hands-on active exploration of materials and equipment in small groups, independently and through educator led activities. Project work, where deep investigation into a topic occurs over the course of weeks or months, is another developmentally appropriate learning approach. Learning centres are a further avenue for engaging children in exploring open ended activities. These activities invite children to interact with materials, each other and their educator at their individual skill and interest level. The role of the educator is critical when using a developmentally appropriate approach. The educator contributes to the process by implementing 5 key aspects: creating a caring community of learners, teaching to enhance development and learning, planning curriculum to achieve important goals, assessing children’s development and learning and, finally, establishing reciprocal relationships with families.
We worry about what a child will become tomorrow, yet we forget that he is someone today.
Infant Program (6 weeks – 17 months)
During a baby’s first years of life, rapid and remarkable changes occur in all areas of development. All babies need affectionate relationships with primary caregivers that develop bonds which provide necessary attachment and security. Early childhood educators provide responsive, individualized care that is warm and sensitive. The educator also provides opportunities for sensory, physical, communication and relationship development. Educators will communicate with infants through song, music, conversation and sign language. Daily routines such as feeding and diapering will be used as opportunities for individual attention, communication and learning.
The typical daily program for infants will be highly individualized. Each infant’s preferred sleeping, feeding and playing schedules will be respected and followed by playing close attention to the infants’ verbal and nonverbal cues.
Our centre follows the recommendations of public health and the Canadian Pediatric Society. Therefore we do not put children to bed with bottles. A child may be given a bottle of water to ease the transition but because of the concerns regarding tooth decay, ear infections and choking, bottles are not used to put children to sleep. We also follow the recommendations regarding SIDS prevention and all babies are put to sleep on their backs unless a doctor’s note is provided indicating a medical need that requires the child to sleep on their stomach or side. Once children are able to roll they are left to choose their favourite sleep position.
Toddler Program (18 months – 29 months)
Toddlerhood is a time for exploration, discovery and determination to find meaning in events, objects and words. Toddlers are concerned with their rising sense of self, linked closely with emerging interest in being independent and in control. They need caring, attentive early childhood educators to provide a safe and secure base and who will assist them in finding appropriate ways to communicate, assert themselves and become more socially competent. Toddlers need time to participate in small group play, fantasy play and independent activities that allow for whole body movements and engaging sensory explorations.
Preschool Groups (30 months – 5 year old children)
The multi-age groupings in our preschool rooms allow these children to work in their peer group and with their early childhood educator for longer periods of time thereby facilitating the building of strong relationships, trust and deep meaningful interactions and project work. Preschool children are developing in all areas and are typically interested in forming relationships with caring adults and friendships among their peers. Children’s development will be fostered in our program through age appropriate activities, materials and interactions based on the individual and group needs and interests. Caring responsive adults will strive to create a caring community of learners – establishing positive, constructive relationships and promoting self-esteem which in turn promotes language, cognitive, physical and creative development.
The purpose of the guidance approach used at our centres is to enhance self-esteem through an environment and strategies that show the children we value and care for them as the unique individual they are. Each child is an individual who grows, develops and responds to life in his/her own way. The process of implementing child guidance strategies is about helping children develop the principles, attitudes and skills they will need to become competent, caring, confident and responsible persons. The important process of guiding children starts during infancy and the strategies evolve in response to the child’s temperament, age and ability. Child guidance is not just about helping children stop inappropriate behaviours: more importantly, it is about helping children learn appropriate behaviours.
The Goals of Guidance
To protect children from harming themselves, others or property.
To help children gain control and self-discipline.
To help children develop the skills to solve their own problems.
To help children develop independence and high self-esteem.
To help children develop the skills to interact positively with others.
(taken from the Canadian Child Care Federation)
A child’s behaviour is influenced by a number of factors including: the adults who care for them, their age and stage of development and their environment and routines. Positive approaches in guiding young children are used by the early childhood educators. Strategies are based on the following principles:
- Adults model and teach appropriate behaviour.
- The environment including materials and equipment, routines and schedule are reflective of developmentally appropriate practices and are structured to allow for exploration, interaction, decision -making and reflect a play based, child centered curriculum. These components are changed in response to children’s needs, interests and behaviours.
- Adults develop reasonable limits and expectations to keep children physically and emotionally safe based on children’s age and stage of development. These limits and expectations are explained to children using language suitable to their developmental level. These expectations are gently and consistently enforced.
- Logical and natural consequences are used in response to inappropriate behaviour.
- Children are encouraged to resolve conflicts with each other using appropriate problem solving approaches. Adults will help guide children through the problem solving approach and support children in their efforts.
We believe that respecting and acknowledging children’s feelings, positive reinforcement, encouragement, offering choices, redirection, limit setting, and joint problem solving are the most effective tools of discipline. The educators within the classroom evaluate and decide the most appropriate form of discipline/guidance to use in each situation.
In the case of a persistent child guidance issue we will always inform and consult with a child’s family, and work together on a collaborative plan for helping the child. We might also seek the advice of experts to help us develop a plan/strategy for supporting the child and family.
Professional Program Services
Our centre is fortunate to have the services of a Speech and Language Pathologist, Behaviour Consultant and a Dental Therapist. These professionals visit our centre to provide advice and support to parents and staff. They are available to meet with parents individually if parents have concerns regarding their child’s development.
A Nurse practitioner is located in the Mount Royal Collegiate school nurses office four days a week and a Healthy Mother Healthy baby nurse is there on the fifth day. The nurse practitioner is available to see parents and or their children. She is able to order tests and write prescriptions.
Immunization nurses visit the Sharon Van Cleave and Royal West centres three times a year to update children and parents immunization status. The Dental Nurse also visits the centres to screen children and provide fluoride treatment.
Parents must provide signed permission for their children to participate in the various screening and treatment clinics.