The brain develops at an astounding rate during the early years of a child’s life. At Westdale Co-operative Preschool, we believe in harnessing those years in providing children with opportunities to develop skills that will support their growth as competent, creative and curious individuals with unlimited potential to pursue their goals/values in responsible and innovative ways. Children are encouraged to participate and interact with their each other and their surroundings through exploration, inquiry and play-based learning. Children flourish in this type of environment; developing at their own pace, discovering their own capabilities, and getting to know themselves as citizens and human beings with individual needs, feelings and interests.
Through compliance with the Child Care and Early Years Act, as well as professional development and research from Ministry documents, such as “How Does Learning Happen”, Westdale Co-operative preschool strives to support each child’s individual needs through the provision of a responsive and inclusive program that encompasses the four foundations for ensuring optimal learning and development: belonging, engagement, expression and well-being.
The following goals will serve to guide our program as we aim to provide positive experiences for children and their families:
1. promote the health, safety, nutrition and well-being of the children;
* WCP provides healthy meals and snacks in a positive eating environment that teaches responsibility and independence. Nutrition is not only important to the rapidly developing minds of our children, but also plays a large role in our programming. Children learn about healthy choices and nutritional benefits through participation on all levels in the kitchen. Food choices follow the nutritional requirements set forth in Canada’s Food Guide, with multiple food groups offered, and water for drinking.
* WPC offers regular daily opportunities for children to be physically active and to explore the world around them with their bodies, minds and senses.
* Children have opportunities to practice self-help and self-care skills based on their individual capabilities throughout daily routines and activities.
* Educators are familiar with all information concerning medical conditions, allergies, food restrictions, medication requirements, and parental preferences with respect to diet, exercise and rest time.
* WCP provides a safe and clean environment. Equipment, toys and surroundings are examined regularly for potential hazards.
2. support positive and responsive interactions among the children, parents, child care providers and staff;
* WCP facilitates successful communication between children by helping them listen to each other and express themselves to one another.
* Educators encourage conversations through open-ended questions, active listening and turn-taking skills.
* WCP works with families and community members to find ways to support and enrich each child’s learning experiences of language and culture.
* Educators are responsive, providing guiding and nurturing. They foster a sense of community, converse with the children and encourage problem solving. This interaction allows children to take more initiative, becoming actively involved in decision making, exploration and self-directed learning.
3. encourage the children to interact and communicate in a positive way and support their ability to self-regulate;
* Educators respond to each child’s individual cues, needs and communications.
* Educators recognize and support children’s developing self-regulation skills in all domains (biological, emotional, communicative, cognitive and social).
* Educators help children to recognize their emotions, provide them with self-regulation strategies, and teach empathy through understanding how their actions can affect others.
* Children are encouraged to share, cooperate and communicate in various ways when interacting with one another, educators and volunteers.
* Educators learn about the children through active listening, observing, documenting and discussions. This sets a foundation for understanding the special and unique needs, interests and development of each child.
4. foster the children’s exploration, play and inquiry;
* Educators participate alongside the children as co-learners rather than as ‘directors of learning’.
* Children are encouraged to ask questions and to explore in order to understand their world in meaningful ways.
* Children are given opportunities to explore with their senses, to manipulate materials, and to investigate ideas through open-ended activities.
* Programming comes from the document “How Learning Happens”, which embraces the foundations of belonging, engagement, expression and well-being.
* Children are provided with opportunities to learn through play. Toys and equipment are rotated to provide new experiences and opportunities for learning and skill development.
* Children are provided with many opportunities for sensory, gross and fine motor skill development.
5. provide child-initiated and adult-supported experiences;
* Families and community members are invited to contribute to the learning experiences of the children.
* Materials are provided to the children that encourage open-ended exploration, creativity and imagination when exploring their thinking and ideas.
* Children are encouraged to discover their surroundings according to their own interests, and at their own pace. Educators utilize these opportunities to interact with the children at their level creating positive and varying opportunities for learning.
6. plan for and create positive learning environments and experiences in which each child’s learning and development will be supported;
* Educators make children’s thinking and learning visible to children and their families through posting photos, quotes and other forms of documentation.
* Educators and children co-create a learning space that embraces curiosity and investigation, as well as providing challenges that are responsive to individual capabilities and learning readiness.
* Children are supported in their attempts to convey thoughts, feelings and ideas through verbal and non-verbal means (pictures, gestures, words).
* Educators encourage sensory exploration through meaningful activities and materials.
* A Parent Questionnaire is sent home to each family as part of the Registration Package in order to obtain information about each child’s development, interests, experiences, family/cultural traditions, etc.
* Educators meet regularly to plan and create activities, centres and experiences based on the needs and interests of the children in the classroom.
* Field trips are planned throughout the year that are tailored to the interests and learning goals of the children.
* Classroom materials and equipment are changed regularly to provide new experiences and build on previous experiences and learning.
7. incorporate indoor and outdoor play, as well as active play, rest and quiet time, into the day, and give consideration to the individual needs of the children receiving child care;
* Daily routines include minimal interruptions and transitions to maintain a sense of calm and simplicity.
* Educators are attuned to the physical and emotional state of each child, and they are aware of the individual strengths and needs of each child when preparing for transitions throughout the morning.
* Children are encouraged to recognize their interests, feelings and/or needs when choosing activities.
* Children have access to gym equipment and gross motor activities for about 45 minutes each day.
* Programming includes regular community and nature walks.
8. foster the engagement of and ongoing communication with parents about the program and their children;
* Educators suggest ways families can extend learning at home.
* Programming incorporates families sharing holiday traditions and cultural experiences to build a sense of inclusiveness and to celebrate diversity.
* WCP promotes positive relationships among all staff and family members of the preschool through multiple means of communication, including facebook, email, and a documentation board.
* WCP has an open-door policy with respect to communication between Educators, the Executive Board and parents.
* Educators provide anecdotal feedback to parents about their child’s day-to-day learning and development.
* All families are encouraged to volunteer in the classroom and/or share special skills/talents to complement classroom programming.
* Educators maintain an up-to-date Documentation Board for children and encourage families to review it regularly.
* WCP holds monthly play-date events to get families together.
* Families attend General Meetings in order to participate in, and stay up-to-date on, preschool initiatives, events and updates.
9. involve local community partners and allow those partners to support the children, their families and staff;
* Children explore and learn about the community through regular community walks, trips to the local library and visits to local businesses for practical and hands-on learning experiences.
* Community partners and preschool families are invited to the classroom to provide practical and hands-on learning experiences (ie, playing music, fire fighting, baking, etc).
* Community agencies are accessed to supplement and provide variety in classroom materials/resources, as well as formal and informal supports for families.
10. support staff through continuous professional learning;
* Financial support is provided to contract staff for the purpose of professional learning and development.
* Educators are given opportunities for collaboration and/or conferencing with other RECEs.
* Educators are supported with Continuous Professional Learning program.
11. document and review the impact of the strategies set out in the above goals on children and their families
* WCP promotes regular reflection and collaboration among staff to review any need for changes to policies and procedures.
* Families are asked for semi-annual feedback regarding the preschool program.
This program statement document is a fluid document that is reviewed and revised on an ongoing basis. All new staff, classroom volunteers and co-operative students are required to review this document and sign a copy of the Program Statement and Policies Review form
- before interacting with the children, and
- whenever the document is modified in any way.