A hundred years from now, it will not matter what kind of car I drove or the sort of house I lived in. But the world may be different because I was important in the life of a child.
– Forest E. Witcraft
We consider play the most important job there is for infants, but we recognize that not all play is created equal. To provide for meaningful play, we have organized the infant room in our Centre to be welcoming and ready for play by all infants by having infant/toddler-sized furniture, see-through shelves, equipment that fits in their hands and that is available at their level. We have long periods of play where the infants can experiment with new items and discover the world around them. This play also fosters the early development of social awareness through interactions with their peers and educators. Play provides opportunities to infants for learning and allows them to develop socially, emotionally, physically and cognitively.
Another important aspect of our infant program involves building trust, security and attachment with each individual child. This relationship is achieved through getting to know each child’s individual needs and wants through picking up on both their verbal and non-verbal cues. We also seek to achieve this aim by allowing families to bring in items such as soothers and bottles to allow for an easier transition from parent to educator. Our program has a rocking chair that allows us to have special one-on-one time with each infant. This one-on-one time provides, in turn, security and comfort for infants throughout their day.
We create play opportunities by reorganizing toys and equipment to meet the current needs and interests of the infants. Both educator-guided and spontaneous activities are available for infants throughout the day. We as educators narrate their actions, for example: “you’re putting the block in the hole” or, “you’re pushing the car up the ramp.” This verbal reinforcement enhances the play experience of infants and increases vocabulary. We foster social interactions by providing group play opportunities such as rolling a ball back and forth to each other and to the educator or role playing in the house area e.g.: caring for the dolls like real babies. The room is organized with cozy areas, soft spaces, mirrors and gates that provide a safe environment for infants to play. We have a regular two-week rotation of toy changes, although we shorten or lengthen this allotted time depending on changing interest levels in toys. Transition times in this room are kept to a minimum to allow infants to move at their own pace and natural body rhythm.
The infants in our program are exposed to different cultures, races, ages, abilities and genders through various means, including:
The core underlying principle of our routines is flexibility. By flexibility we mean that we actively work with parents to establish individual routines for all infants. This approach allows infants to eat and sleep when they need it, not when it is convenient for Centre. Our room has an open concept design to enable the educator to monitor napping infants while still moving freely throughout the room. Children all have their own highchairs and cribs for the sleeping and eating routine. While changing diapers we speak directly to children about each step in the diapering process, allowing them to be part of the diaper-changing routine. Occasionally, a toy or bath book is provided during this routine to help calm/focus the active infants. The routines are tailored to the age of the infant, as this is a time when their developmental needs change quickly. Staff in that room take ongoing training and workshops pertaining to infant development e.g. Babies in Bloom and infant networking groups, and are therefore aware of appropriate routines for infants. The room is divided with gated areas to provide separation for activities that allow infants to roam freely while the older toddlers can be involved in a guided activity such as painting.
Families are encouraged to bring family pictures, food and culture-relevant items to help children identify with their home life within the childcare setting. Educators who identify with the cultural group to which children belong will speak to those children/parents in their maternal language. A variety of materials are presented to allow exploration at current development stages but also more advanced material to promote learning, as all infants are not at the same stage. For example, stacking rings and shape-sorting toys provide infants the opportunity for the development of fine motor skills through trial and error, which eventually will lead to success. Other learning opportunities we make use of are those that occur when we take infants for walks or to the park. During such walks, we encourage the following sorts of learning:
The educators’ role during these play routines is to provide a stimulating atmosphere where they are directly involved in the play e.g. in a game of peek-a-boo or indirectly by allowing the infants to independently explore their surroundings and toys within a safe and secure environment. Learning opportunities are simple but valuable. Community for infants is the school and the volunteers who spend time with them from the current school and surrounding programs.
We pride ourselves on developing relationships with all infants, parents/guardians and extended family members. We enjoy hearing the day-to-day living experiences of the child outside of the Centre. We make time for discussions with parents at drop-off, pick-up or anytime in between to share information about their child’s learning and development. Our open-door policy is really that: we invite parents to come in, sit down and tell us anything that is important for us to know so that we can provide the best program possible for their children. We greet every child and parent by name. Every staff member communicates with families in different ways.
You may find a note in your child’s lunch box or on your child’s locker, be invited into discussion at pick-up, or even receive a phone call during the day regarding your child’s recent learning experiences. Educators in the infant program continually document important information about the individual infant’s day within a communication book that all other staff working in the room must read. This continuity is ensured through initialing each entry. Staff members also verbally communicate with one another on an ongoing basis. We also chart napping and diapering schedules. We try to maintain as much consistency as possible in primary staff to create an atmosphere of trust between educator and child, as well as to introduce infants to all staff members, to better prepare them when a transition is necessary.
Other ways we get to kno wour families are:
We consider playing the most important job that there is for children but believe that not all play is created equal. To provide for meaningful play, we have organized every room in our Centre to be welcoming and ready for play, with child-sized furniture and equipment that fits in the hands of the children and is available at their level.
We have long periods of play when children can grow their ideas and create wonderful uninterrupted moments in developing friendships, sharing skills, experimenting with toys/objects and discovering the world around them. Play provides opportunities for children’s social, emotional, physical and cognitive development.
We get to know the children by listening when they speak to us. We get close to them and acknowledge what they are saying. These interactions help children develop a sense of belonging and mutual respect is developed. We also observe children at play. These observations are used primarily to guide staff on the following:
We are proud to be able to provide service that represents diversity and inclusion, not only in the families we serve but in the staff we hire. Multi-cultural pictures, items, books and dolls are part of our everyday materials that the children can experience in their environment. Our staff are also culturally diverse, allowing many children and families the opportunity to communicate in their first language.
We pride ourselves on developing relationships with all children, parents/guardians and extended family members. We enjoy hearing the day to day living experiences of the child outside of Centre time. We make time for discussions with parents at drop-off, pick-up or anytime in between to share information about their child’s learning and development. Our open-door policy is really that: come in sit down and tell us all that’s important for us to provide the best program possible for your child. We greet every child and parent by name. Every staff member communicates with families in a different way. You may find a note in your child’s lunch box, on your child’s locker, a discussion at pick-up or even a phone call at home regarding your child’s recent learning experiences. We try to keep the primary staff as consistent as possible to create an atmosphere of trust between educator and child. We introduce all children to all staff, to better prepare them when a transition is necessary.
Community for the preschool children is learned through the relationship we develop with the school, the community walks and parks and the discussions that take place along the way.
LVLC operates a nursery school program in PES. This program is open to children who will be 3 years of age by December 31st of the current year up to and including 4 years of age. Child must be able to use the toilet, no diapers or pull-ups permitted.
The nursery program operates the opposite days of the Prince Edward School Kindergarten program. A schedule will be distributed once available from PES. The nursery program operates September to June. It is closed on all RETSD PD’s, and all other days indicated in “Hours of Operation & Centre Closures”.
Children may be supervised in one of two ways: directly or indirectly.
Direct supervision refers to when staff are directly in the same room/area and able to see and/or hear your child. Children are always directly supervised while outside. Preschool (not including kindergarten) children are always directly supervised.
Indirect supervision refers to when the staff are not in the same room/area and may not be able to see or hear your child directly but are still monitoring your child’s safety. Staff will take into account the age, developmental level and individual needs of each child as they determine the level of supervision required for each situation. As each child grows and develops, they need opportunities to practice independence and build self-confidence. Indirect supervision encourages these skills.
Due to the physical location of Centre within the school and the developmental ages of the children, indirect supervision occurs on a daily basis. The following safety measures are in place to make sure that the child returns to the directly supervised area within a reasonable amount of time.
Childcare services automatically end when your child turns 12 or on the last day of their grade 6 academic year, whichever comes first.