The Whitney Child Centre Program Statement

(approved by WCC Board of Directors: March 2016)

The mission of the Whitney Child Centre is to provide community child care based on learning through play, in a dynamic environment centred on the development of the whole child.

Introduction:

At the Whitney Child Centre, we believe that children are competent, capable of complex thinking, and curious and rich in potential. We believe that children will thrive when we work together in our community, involving the family, the school and the environment. Our staff believe that every child deserves the opportunity to succeed, and our goal is to provide creative and responsive programs to allow children to develop and enhance their skills, to create and explore, to build on their strengths and abilities as individuals. Our program statement outlines our goals and the approaches we use to attain them.

We understand that families love their children and want the best for them. We see families as experts in their child, and our goal is to use that as a resource when setting program goals. Parents and extended family are the first and foremost influence on a child’s learning, development and well-being; they bring diverse social, cultural and linguistic perspectives. Our goal is for families to feel they can be involved in a meaningful way. Parents are encouraged to provide information about their child and their family. Parents are given as much information about their child as possible, we value open communication and feedback. Parents are welcome to come into class to participate and provide expertise. Our Board of Directors is comprised of a maximum of 12 parents, and we conduct an annual parent survey to ask for our families’ feedback and opinion.

Staff, Programming and Interactions:

The Centre supports staff by providing opportunities for continuous professional learning. Our staff are valued as professional educators. They are knowledgeable, caring, reflective and resourceful. Staff are given the opportunity for professional development and are also encouraged to take responsibility for their learning. Staff work as a team; communication and feedback are considered vital to the success of our program. Our staff bring diverse interests, experiences and backgrounds. Staff are passionate about developing programming that is responsive, imaginative, creative and child-oriented. Staff are knowledgeable about child development and use the ELECT document to report and reflect on child development, they use ‘How Does Learning Happen’, ‘Think Feel Act’ and the ELECT document as resources to support their program goals in an emergent environment. Staff observe children to plan activities that reflect both children’s interests and individual levels of development. Staff research ideas and materials to instigate ideas and participation and to excite children to learn.

When planning the program staff ensure:

That children belong and have a sense of being connected to others.

That children feel valued and can build relationships with staff and other children.

That our children can contribute in a positive way as an individual and as part of a group, in the community and the natural world.

That children have positive well being.

That children feel capable and confident with a good sense of self and strong self help and self regulation skills.

Our aim is for all children to be fully engaged in our programs. We believe that children should be able to explore their environments and engage with curiosity and exuberance. Our programs are play-based, encouraging creative thinking, problem solving and innovation. Staff foster the children’s exploration, play and inquiry using an emergent curriculum approach where children’s natural curiosity, inquiry and sense of wonder is capitalized upon, and the children’s interests shape and form the direction of the curriculum. Staff provide on-going activities to challenge children at their developmental levels and support children in learning concrete strategies to deal with emotions, both good and bad. Staff create areas where children can be quiet or active, exuberant or reflective. Staff’s interests and ideas are reflected in programming provoking excitement, interest and ideas. Programming is flexible to allow for children’s individual needs to be considered.

Staff support positive and responsive interactions among the children, parents and staff. We believe expression and communication to be vital for success. Staff provide a rich language environment to support growing communication skills which form the foundation for literacy.

Our staff value and uphold the ELECT principles:

Positive experiences in early childhood set the foundation for lifelong learning, behavior, health and well being.

Partnerships with families and communities are essential.

Respect for diversity, equity and inclusion is vital.

An intentional, planned program supports learning.

Play and inquiry are learning approaches that capitalize on children’s natural curiosity and exuberance.

Knowledgeable, responsive and reflective educators are essential.

Program Statement Implementation:

Staff are assigned time to meet as a team to discuss programming and to reflect and discuss observations.

Staff meetings are used to discuss the program and problem solve issues that may occur, as well as to reflect on and highlight achievements.

Staff set up the environment for the children ensuring a healthy and safe environment.

Staff provide activities to foster exploration, play and inquiry.

Staff observe children and record observations to ensure their programming reflects the children’s developmental needs as well as including the children’s interests and ideas.

The program allows for child initiated activities and adults are able to extend and expand on the children’s learning and experiences, modifying activities when necessary.

Staff are encouraged to allow for flexibility in routines in order to meet children’s needs.

Staff will create and implement Individual Support Plans for any child identified with a special need.

Our staff use their own talents, interests and experiences to enhance programming and planned experiences.

Staff report on weekly programming through the use of our curriculum boards outside each classroom. The curriculum boards show activities provided, plus learning opportunities. Staff display photographs and samples of work.

Our Centre aims to provide children with nutritious meals and snacks that promote healthy development. We are catered by Choice Children’s Catering. The Centre posts information about our caterer and menus and other information regarding nutrition. We send home menus at the beginning of the school year, and when menus change in the Spring. Our goal at all meal and snack times is for children to develop age-appropriate self-help skills and to interact with other children and staff to develop social skills. We sit in small groups for lunch and snack and encourage children to enjoy and try new foods. Staff role model healthy eating habits. Staff use snack and meal times to encourage independence and self-help skills, as well as to sit and engage with the children. Children are encouraged to serve themselves and to help clean up. The Centre reviews our menus and the caterer on a regular basis to ensure they are meeting the needs of our children and families. We ensure we visit the caterer’s facility annually and that a nutritionist is reviewing the menus they provide, ensuring they meet and often exceed those requirements in Canada’s Food Guide. Staff are always aware of the children’s needs and adapt meals and snack times accordingly. A supply of fruit is always available if children are hungry and staff ensure every child has access to drinking water throughout the day. We ensure that any food restrictions or allergies are accommodated either by the caterer, the Centre or by the parent, always strictly adhering to our Allergy and Anaphylaxis Policy.

Children’s health and well being is fostered both inside and outside. We have a wonderful playground that was renovated in 2009 allowing our children to connect with the natural world. Our full time children have a scheduled outside time morning and afternoon, which includes child directed and adult supported activities. Part time nursery school children usually meet outside and have an opportunity for outdoor play at the beginning of each session.

Full time children have one hour scheduled morning and afternoon. In addition the staff plan inside gross motor activities and the Centre has other specialists that come to the Centre to provide gross motor and exercise programs. These companies include: Monkeynastix and In The Mix. The Centre provides a varied array of gross motor equipment such as bikes, balls, hoops, ride on toys, both inside and outside. Physical activity is encouraged and programmed for, and is considered an important part of the child’s day. Neighbourhood walks allow for exploration of our community.

Staff promote children’s overall health and well being, by programming for both active and quiet times during the day. Children’s individual needs for rest and play are considered. Our nap time follows lunch. The toddler and preschool children have ‘cots’ labeled with each child’s name. We supply clean sheets weekly and ask parents to supply any other items their child might need such as a blanket or comfort toy. We understand that each child has different nap needs. All children rest, but preschool children that no longer sleep or rise early from nap time may return to their classroom for activities. We also provide options for early risers in the toddler room. Children are able to play quietly in the literacy corner or if ratios allow they can engage in activities in the gross motor area outside the classroom, or in our preschool rooms 106 or 107. Staff ensure the day is balanced to incorporate quiet periods in the child’s active day. Staff may incorporate activities such as listening to stories, reading books or yoga and mindfulness.

We see communication between families and our staff as a key to providing quality care. We aim to provide an inclusive, enriched child care environment which honours and respects all children’s beliefs, culture, language and experiences acquired from their family and community. We encourage parents to share information regarding their child both verbally and in writing. We provide forms at registration time asking about each child’s likes and dislikes and about their personality and any individual needs. We offer parent teacher interviews at any time throughout the school year either in person or over the phone. Toddler parents will receive a written daily report. Teachers in all age groups post and send home observations. We create ‘learning panels’ that are posted inside and outside the classroom. Our staff ensure they are available to give daily feedback. We post our daily and weekly activities outside the classroom on our curriculum boards. Each month we send home a newsletter with both general information and feedback about what happened in the classroom the month before, and about what the teachers have planned for the month ahead. At our Open House our goal is to have our parents attend with their children to view our environment and to have the opportunity to chat with staff, other parents and Board Members. We provide three social events where parents have the opportunity to meet other families and to connect within our community. We send home an Annual Parent Survey to solicit feedback from our families. We provide a link between child care and the school and attend the school information evenings and collaborate with the School Principal and staff to ensure a strong connection between us. We have a website with access to information about the Centre. In the Centre we provide Curriculum Boards, our Parent Board, the Board of Directors Board, the Playground Board and the Nutrition Board. In the lobby we provide general information on immunization, developmental tools and resources for families.

We aim to involve local community partners and allow those partners to support the children, their families and staff. The Centre works with the Principal and the public school staff to create a positive working relationship between the child care and the school. We are able to access resources through various organizations including the City of Toronto, the TDSB, Public Health and Preschool Speech and Language to support families and childrens’ needs. We welcome input and support from other professionals regarding an individual child’s needs. Please read the specialized service section in our Parent Handbook. Another way we use community partners is to enhance our program. For example a staff may invite the fire department, a doctor or a vet to come in and speak to the children. A parent may come in to read a story or play the guitar at circle time. Preschool children visit the public school to help with the transition to kindergarten and children are sometimes taken to watch age appropriate school events such as the Halloween Parade. In this way we build a sense of community.

Annually in the spring, the Board of Directors and Supervisor will review the Program Statement making any revisions necessary. The Supervisor in conjunction with the Board of Directors will compile a written annual report which reviews the impact of our program statement on our children and their families. We will state whether we are meeting the goals set out in our Program Statement and as determined by the Child Care and Early Years Act 2014, Section 46 (3) (a k), and set goals, or revise the Program Statement, as necessary.

In reviewing the Program statement, the Board and Supervisor will take into consideration:

  • Feedback from staff.
  • Feedback from families.
  • The results of inspections by Public Health, the City of Toronto and the Ministry of Education.
  • Feedback from the public school.

The Supervisor will evaluate the climate of the Centre, including scheduling, programming and the environment of each classroom.

The Supervisor will determine staff needs for further support or education to ensure continuous professional learning.

Staff will annually review the program statement and sign off on this review annually. Signatures will be kept on file for a minimum of three years

Our Positive Behaviour Guidance Policy and Guidelines are part of our Program Statement. Our Parent Handbook provides families with full information about our program. Our policies are available on the Parent Board, and many can be found on our website. A copy of any policy may be obtained from the Supervisor.

Program Statement and Parent Handbook – click to download

Positive Behaviour Guidance Policy – click to download

Our staff value and uphold the ELECT principles:

Positive experiences in early childhood set the foundation for lifelong learning, behavior, health and well being.

Partnerships with families and communities are essential.

Respect for diversity, equity and inclusion is vital.

An intentional, planned program supports learning.

Play and inquiry are learning approaches that capitalize on children’s natural curiosity and exuberance.

Knowledgeable, responsive and reflective educators are essential.