Infant Program: 12 weeks-2 years
At La Salle Kidz Inc., we provide care for our infants in collaboration with parents to ensure that the transition from home to daycare is as smooth as possible. We strive to satisfy each infant’s need for a close physical and emotional attachment. We do this by holding, cuddling, interacting with them and being close to them at all times. We hope to build a positive relationship with our families and work cooperatively to support both families and children. We do this by greeting parents/guardians each day and exchanging information about the children. We also collaborate with parents/guardians on how to best meet each child’s individual needs. A daily record chart is used to further expand and strengthen communication between families and all caregivers in the Infant Room.
We offer a child-centered, family oriented infant program that is designed to promote a developmentally appropriate approach to foster each child’s social, emotional, physical and cognitive growth. The environment is designed to be warm, safe, inviting and challenging for the different stages of infants. We observe closely and work as a team to modify and improve the space as each infant grows. For example, a basket ball hoop and a basket of balls are set up for our current infants who love to throw balls.
We follow an Emergent Curriculum approach to capture the children’s true interests and provide engaging and developmentally appropriate play experiences. We believe that infants develop best when they are assured of having a trusted caregiver who can read their cues and respond to their needs. A primary caregiver is established when an infant starts the program and the primary caregiver is responsible to fill out daily charts and document the children’s learning during the day through play in his/her group.
Our caregivers are educated and knowledgeable about child development and are able to read and respond to the infant’s needs and behaviors. The Infant Room has a scheduled routine to help children learn to understand the day and what comes next; however, this schedule is flexible and is adapted to meet the individual needs of each child. For example, if an infant requires two naps, our staff would work around our schedule for outdoor play time to make it possible for the infant to take the extra nap in the morning.
Caregivers optimize learning opportunities in planned play experiences as well as spontaneous play. For example, when participating in bubble play, a child practices fine motor skills by holding the bubble wand; develops gross motor skills by reaching out to the bubbles or crawling to where the bubbles are; develops hand-eye or foot-eye coordination when popping the bubbles with whole hand/foot, or fingers/toes, and develops social and communication skills by asking for more bubbles and popping together.
At La Salle Kidz Inc., we use caregiving routines such as diapering, dressing, handwashing, and meal times to promote learning. For example, when helping children dress for outdoor play, we help them develop language skills by talking to them about the items we are helping them to put on, the steps we take, and scaffolding the skills needed to dress themselves to foster independence.
At meal times we create a relaxing and enjoyable environment and stay close to the infants to provide supervision and interaction. We foster positive relationships between the children and optimize teachable moments. We allow infants to explore their food, feed themselves and respond to their cues of feeling hungry or full.
We believe that language development is particularly crucial during the infant period and provide many opportunities for infants to engage in meaningful dialogue. We acknowledge and encourage the infants’ forms of communication. We use and teach sign language at times which gives infants who have not yet developed verbal language, the ability to communicate. This helps to reduce frustration while they are learning their verbal skills.
We encourage all children to learn about their environment through exploration, at their own pace by touching, tasting, vocalizing and through play. We provide different play experiences that are both planned and spontaneous to encourage learning. We help encourage children develop social skills by helping them take turns, engage in role play, and encourage conversations with each other about what is happening.
The caregivers in our Infant Room meet regularly to talk about the environment, interactions, and each child’s needs and interests to enhance programming. Both our indoor and outdoor environment are set up with adequate space and play materials to allow our children to explore and participate in hands on play experiences. We have low shelves with open bins so the children can easily access the play materials. We consider all aspects of the children’s development and diversity in the program when implementing curriculum planning. We provide play materials and books that reflect diversity such as dolls and play foods from different culture. Other ways include displaying posters, photos, and music. We also provide foods that are reflective of all different cultures and uniqueness of our children and their families, as well as our caregivers. The learning environment includes sensory, literacy, curiosity, movement, music, and outdoor experiences. Our community is an extension of our program and we often journey out of the centre to play at local parks to explore and to learn more about the world around us.
The caregivers in our Infant Room work closely with our preschool caregivers to prepare our children to transition to preschool and ensure they are ready to embrace the next stage at our centre.
Preschool Program: 2 years-6 years
At La Salle Kidz Inc., each child is celebrated as a unique individual who deserves a wide variety of opportunities to grow and develop to his/her full potential. We believe that children learn best through play, and we place great emphasis on a child centered and play based curriculum.
At La Salle Kidz Inc., we believe that our role is to enhance the play environment by providing play materials and experiences that foster learning and growth. We follow an emergent curriculum, and our curriculum is based on fostering children’s physical, cognitive, social and emotional development while understanding each child’s individual needs, abilities, and interests. Our caregivers do this by interacting and building positive relationships with the children and providing developmentally appropriate and engaging play experiences, both planned and spontaneous.
Direct interactions that are both positive and respectful allow for genuine relationships to develop between the children and their educators, and families and educators. Staff interacts with the children by getting down to their level, talking with them during transitions, routines and free play. They encourage interactions between children by setting up space for two or more children to play together, suggesting activities that require children to participate together, and having smaller groups throughout the day.
We greet all families at the beginning of the day and share relevant information about the children at the end of the day to get to know our families. This helps create an environment in which children feel accepted for their individuality and build positive relationship with families. We represent our children and families by posting photographs of children’s play, and providing foods that are reflective of all different cultures and uniqueness of our children and their families, as well as our caregivers.
We closely observe the children during play which allow us to understand their abilities, skills, and true interests. We take close notice to what the children are doing, what the children are saying, what they are learning, and what they are curious about. We use this information to plan for our interactions, arrange play space, and provide play materials and play experiences. We ask open-ended questions that build vocabulary, extend knowledge, and encourage creative thinking. Questions like, “What do you think?” or, “What will happen next,” encourage children to practice decision making and problem solving. It is then important for us to consider what the children need, what can be provided, and how to best provide it. We share these observations with our team, parents/guardians, and the children through verbal communication, and visible documentation such as bulletin boards, photo display, happy grams, etc. As the curriculum develops, we also share children’s learning and development through these postings and conversations with our families.
At La Salle Kidz Inc. we believe that the environment plays a very important role in children’s learning. Our environment, both indoor and outdoor provide adequate space and play materials to foster children’s development. We carefully consider room arrangement by creating specific learning areas, such as an art area, quiet area, science area, and dramatic play area. We also ensure that toys and other play materials are accessible and developmentally appropriate. Play areas and materials are arranged and changed monthly or as needed when different interests emerge. A carefully prepared environment enables children to make decisions, experiment, communicate, classify, order, practice fine motor movements, learn to get along with others, be creative, and more.
After close observations and environmental assessments, we develop and implement planned experiences that fosters children’s learning. We invite children to the play experience provided and collect more information to determine what sparks their interests and stimulate learning. We then provide play experiences that foster learning in all development areas. Music, science, math, literacy, art, and dramatic play experiences can all influence and enhance children’s learning. For example, a painting activity can foster fine motor skills, cognitive knowledge, and social skills. The children practice using their fingers or paint brushes to paint, mixing colours into different colours, and share paint with each other. Another example of an activity that provides opportunity for learning is building with blocks. Children learn math skills by counting the blocks, balancing their structure, and exploring with height. Negotiating, teamwork, and problem solving can take place when a group of children build together. It is important for educators to actively participate in the experiences being provided by asking specific questions about what the children see, hear, feel, think, or would like to do next. As children’s interests change, so does the curriculum.
We welcome all families and our community to participate in our curriculum. We include postings and play materials that reflect diversity – various cultures, race, abilities and gender. For example, we have dolls of various ethnicities, posters representing a variety of cultures and abilities and dress up clothes, food and dishes representing other countries. We welcome any ideas, information, or feedback that will enhance our programming. We are committed to providing quality early learning and care for all children and families at our centre by offering a child-centered curriculum that suits each child’s needs. For example, we have a child who requires longer sleep time, our staff arranges the environment to allow this child to sleep longer, and at the same time still engages the other children in the group.
Throughout the day we provide a minimum of 45 minute blocks of free play time to allow children to make the most of learning opportunities. Our schedule is predictable but flexible and has few transitions. For example, when children are engaged in an outdoor play, we may lengthen our outdoor time to ensure the play is not interrupted to maximize learning and development
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