Harbour View Child Care Centre offers a learning program that is consistent with the Ministry of Education policy, pedagogy, and curriculum. We follow the Ministry document, How Does Learning Happen? Ontario’s pedagogy for the Early Years and feel it is a document that accurately describes our child care vision.
Harbour View Child Care Centre emphasizes active learning. We know that children learn best by pursuing their personal goals and interests, therefore, children make their own choices about materials and activities during the program time. As they pursue their choices and plans, children explore, ask, and answer questions, solve problems, and interact with peers, program staff, students on placement, and other adults.
Children are competent, capable, curious and rich in potential.
<Harbour View Child Care Centre recognizes each child is a unique individual who brings his or her own abilities to the program and deserves the encouragement and space to try new things, explore new ideas, and develop their own unique creativity.
We provide an environment that fosters curiosity, one that allows children to explore. We believe that every child deserves a safe and caring environment, where they feel at home, in which to grow and develop to their maximum potential.
We understand the importance of taking children’s stages of development into consideration. For each child, their stage of development is an individualized and complex interplay between developmental factors and their unique family, community, and life experiences. In each case, we aim to integrate all areas of the child’s development into our program in a holistic way.
Our goals for children, consistent with the Ministry of Education pedagogy include the following:
- Every child has a sense of belonging when he or she is connected to others and contributes to their world.
- Every child is developing a sense of self, health, and well-being.
- Every child is an active and engaged learner who explores the world with body, mind, and senses.
- Every child is a capable communicator who expresses himself or herself in many ways.
Children’s interests are invaluable to their learning and offer a rich variety of experiences. The type of activities we offer daily include:
- Drama and music
- Language and literacy
- Nature, science, and technology
- Opportunities for outdoor play
- Opportunities for school-age children to work on homework
- Rest time for children who require it, based on developmental needs
Our programs are designed to:
- Encourage children to interact and communicate in a positive way and support their ability to self-regulate
- Foster the children’s exploration, play, and inquiry
- Provide child-initiated and adult-supported experiences
- Offer opportunities to create authentic, lasting relationships with others in the program
Health, Safety, Nutrition, and Well-Being of Children
We know that the early years set the foundation for children’s health and well-being.
The brain’s architecture is shaped by a child’s interactions and relationships with parents and other significant people in their lives.
Early brain development is stimulated through experiences and interactions with responsive adults.
We understand that the first step in establishing and nurturing health, safety, and well-being for children in our programs is through the connections they make with the program staff, volunteers, and students on placements. Here are some other specific ways we promote well-being in our programs:
Health and Safety – as a licensed child care operator, Harbour View Child Care Centre meets and exceeds all health and safety requirements of the Ministry of Education and local by-laws. Our anaphylaxis policy, medication policies, health policies, etc. are provided in our parent handbook. Daily information is posted on HI MAMA or you can speak to program staff and our Executive Director with any questions.
Nutrition – Harbour View Child Care Centre collaborates with a registered dietitian at the Thunder Bay District Health Unit to develop menus that are both nutritious and appealing for children. Our menus follow Canada’s Food Guide and are seasonal. The 5-week rotation can be found posted under the menu section of HI MAMA.
Relationships among children, families, staff, and community partners
Harbour View Child Care Centre strives to promote a sense of belonging for children and their families in our programs by creating positive interactions and collaboration of families. We understand that relationships of trust are the basis for learning and cooperation.
Every child is entitled to be given the opportunity to develop personal responsibility and social skills, to learn to problem solve, and to learn about diversity and inclusion.
The skills of conflict resolution are important to lifelong learning. As competent individuals, children are active participants in resolving conflicts. We encourage them to come up with ideas and solutions to problems that arise.
Harbour View Child Care Centre is committed to working collaboratively with all of our community partners as we work together on the mutual goal of providing the best possible child care service to families. Some community partners that we work closely with are Children’s Centre Thunder Bay, Thunder Bay Homes for the Aged, and Seeds of Empathy.
Positive self-expression, communication, and self-regulation
At Harbour View Child Care Centre, our inclusive programming leads to children’s sense of belonging. Positive learning environments and experiences, focused on active play-based learning, encourage children’s communication, self-expression, and self-regulation.
We strive to be aware of, foster, support, encourage, respond to and document in HI MAMA the many ways in which children express themselves, the many “voices” with which they articulate their ideas and the variety of “languages” they use to communicate. We also seek to honour and reflect children’s home language and culture in our programs.
In our inclusive learning environments, we welcome children of all abilities. Respect for diversity, equity, and inclusion is vital for optimal development and learning. Here are some of the ways in which we create an inclusive environment in our programs:
- Recognize each child as having equal rights to participate in program activities, trips, and events
- Recognize and respect the unique qualities of each child and family, including ancestry, culture, ethnicity, race, language, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, religion, socio-economic status, family environment, and developmental abilities and needs
- Create strategies that value the culture and first language of all children
- Establish programming strategies to foster an inclusive learning environment in which every child can participate
- View the diversity of children and families as an asset, and plan programs to reflect differences and enrich the environment
Our programs focus on active play-based learning as the way that children naturally learn best. It is their natural response to the environment around them. When children are manipulating objects, acting out roles, or experimenting with different materials, they are engaged in learning through play. Play allows them to actively construct, challenge, and expand their own understanding through making connections to prior experiences, thereby opening the door to new learning. Intentional play-based learning enables children to investigate, ask questions, solve problems, and engage in critical thinking. Play is responsive to each child’s unique learning style and capitalizes on his or her innate curiosity and creativity.
Our program also supports children’s self-regulation, their ability to deal with stress and remain calm, alert, and ready to learn. When children are calmly focused and alert, they are best able to modulate third emotions, pay attention, ignore distraction, inhibit their impulses, and understand the consequences of their actions. We are continually learning about how to create learning environments and programming that helps support children’s self-regulation to help children to remain or return to a state of calm.
Parent engagement and communication
Harbour View Child Care Centre aims to foster open communication with families about our program and their children’s learning experiences. We believe families are the experts on their children. Harbour View Child Care Centre uses the HI MAMA program to send daily reports via email to parents daily. Photos showing activities and the learning associated with the activity are included, as well as reports on resting, appetite, and any notes or comments educators wish to pass on are sent. Educators try to touch base personally each day as well. Sharing knowledge is integral to the success of your child. Respect, care, empathy, trust, and integrity are core values in all our interactions with families.
We know our partnerships with our families help our program to best meet the needs of the children:
- Families form the foundation for a child’s early development. Families know their children best and are the first and most powerful influence on learning and development.
- We involve parents in various events and activities in our centre. This connects them to their child’s early development and enhances the child’s learning.
Supporting staff in continuous professional learning
Harbour View Child Care Centre is committed to hiring, training, and fairly compensating staff. We hire staff who have a positive and sensitive attitude towards children. Our non-discriminatory hiring practices provide individuals of all backgrounds the opportunity for employment. We believe everyone has worth and value, and all staff are entitled to be respected, supported, and treated fairly.
Harbour View Child Care Centre staff foster children’s inquiry and creativity. Staff plan on a daily basis based on the observations that they make on children’s interests. In this way, learning is extended, leading to deeper investigation with materials and the environment. Staff plan for and create positive learning environments and experiences in which each child’s learning and development will be supported.
At Harbour View Child Care Centre, we believe that knowledgeable and responsive early educators:
- Recognize that responding to the unique abilities, needs and characteristics of each child, family, and community is central to supporting learning and development
- Engage with children as co-learners as they explore their environments
- Provoke children’s thinking, create meaningful programs, and guide interactions with children and their families
- Use a warm and positive approach to support children’s developing ability to express emotions and take other perspectives
- Know when to stand back and observe and when to enter children’s play to stimulate thinking
- Make a commitment to build self-awareness, regularly reflect on practices and engage in new learning experiences, both individually and with colleagues
Formal professional learning is vital, but we also know that the most central professional growth happens day-to-day, as our staff co-learn with children and each other as self-reflective professionals.
Documenting and reviewing the impact of Harbour View Child Care Centre’s learning program
Our staff make daily observations of children in the program and use this information to inform their future planning. The purpose of our documentation is also:
- A way to reflect on developmental growth over a period of time
- A process for program staff to co-plan with children about learning
- A dialogue with families about children’s experience and an invitation for parents to add their own documentation about their children’s learning
- A self-reflection opportunity for program staff, as they participate in continuous professional learning
Harbour View Child Care Centre ensures that all new staff, students, and volunteers review our program statement prior to interacting with our children. We at Harbour View firmly believe in all aspects of our program statement and believe each child, parent, and staff who collaborate making this statement a reality benefit from its guidance.