Working collaboratively, we have created a curriculum to help our children realize their potential, grow together, and make a difference. The approach we take focuses on enriched caregiving and reflects a multidisciplinary approach with Emergent Curriculum, Forest School, Abecedarian Approach, and Moe the Mouse within the learning through play environment. We utilize observation and reports such as behavior plans and culturally appropriate activities to guide our curriculum so that our children will obtain the most significant benefit socially, emotionally, physically, and cognitively. Our yearly goals are set together as part of our PATH that is a strategy meeting involving our team, our board parents, and community members. It’s posted in the centres where it can be viewed by everyone and is brought to board and team meetings to ensure that we are working towards meeting our yearly goals.
We believe children learn about themselves and the world around them through investigation and discovery. We provide lots of time each day where children can explore outside and indoors with art, science, blocks, nature, literature, music, movement, and dramatic play. Early Childhood Educators observe and record children’s play. The purpose of objectively documenting the child’s experiences are:
- To deepen our understanding of how children think and develop.
- Make informed decisions when planning play areas and activities.
- Take children’s feelings and play seriously.
- To help children reflect on their experiences.
This also makes learning visible to the families and the community because we post notes and photos of children involved in play and activities as evidence of their progress. Play areas and activities are formed by understanding what the children need and enjoy due to our observations. Our Educators set up the room with toys and equipment that relate to these needs and interests. We engage children in their play by getting down to the child’s level and are always close by to guide children with comments and questions to help them build friendships and develop skills such as problem-solving, language, and reasoning.
The schedule supports both structured and unstructured time for children to participate in play and staff directed activities and routines to enhance their learning and development. The structure of our daily schedule is predictable, so children know what to expect. However, it is flexible so that we can make changes based on children’s needs. The children can play alone in areas and in groups. Older children often help younger children master new skills in a multi-age group setting. Our Educators layout various developmentally appropriate toys and materials to help children learn about their world. Great attention is given to how things look and feel. Children are encouraged to put toys away before moving onto something else, which develops independence, respect, and a sense of responsibility. Our childcare philosophy is that every child should feel valued and viewed as capable and competent human beings. We must provide children with a safe environment where they feel comfortable. It is also vital that we give the children experiences to explore their own boundaries and engage in certain types of risky play. Our goal is to teach the children in a way that fits each of their needs. To provide quality care, it is incredibly essential for us to have open communication between staff and parents. Creating a bond with the parents eliminates the gap between home and the centre and creates a more welcoming environment for families.
We work in partnership with families and form strong relationships with them by greeting them, sharing stories of their child’s day, and discussing issues to help support parents in their role. We invite families to participate in events and encourage them to spend time in the program, which also provides an opportunity to see the skills and concepts their child is developing during play. Our Educators at Splash share information about recent learning experiences on the message board, through social media and informative newsletters. The culture we are creating at Splash is one of caring. We start with our waterfall and plants at the front entrance; our calming music played throughout the centre and real wood furniture and calming colours. We make it our mission to create a caring environment for the community, nature, and others. This also helps children to feel emotionally safe, comfortable, and ready to learn.
We live in partnership with the community. We share the importance of community spirit in helping each other. Children visit organizations within our community and perform acts of kindness. We also encourage children to help other communities by taking on social justice issues. Splash is very visible in the city. We are a positive force within the community. By teaching civility skills, we are preparing children to be respectful members of the community.
Our interactions, play areas, and activities reflect the diversity of the community we are in. As educators, we respectfully include all people. We celebrate diversity by embracing similarities and differences by providing books, toys, pictures, foods, and activities from various cultures, races, ages, genders, and abilities.
Our respect for nature is reflected in what we teach the children. We respect nature by having community gardens, recycling, composting, vermicomposting, and making the centre plastic bag free. The children spend a great deal of their summer and forest school learning about the land, nature, and their abilities as they master the environment in the forest. They also help clean up the community and leave the parks we visit clean. All who enter Splash are expected to live out our mission and values. Lastly, we believe in the power of laughter. It is infused into all of our experience at Splash, and time is set aside to celebrate monthly birthdays, embrace diversity, pass on a random act of kindness and participate in a fun-loving activity for funky Friday. We end up the month with laughter and good times together. From all of these experiences, children gain a sense of belonging, self-confidence; develop resiliency and a joy for learning.