|High quality care changes the lives of children. When children have consistent, supportive, and responsive relationships, they thrive. The program at Inspiring Minds Early Learning Centre (Inspiring Minds ELC) provides the foundation for life long learning through stimulating early learning and care. We seek to provide a compassionate and respectful environment that supports and enables the children and families who use our service.
Program and Healthy Development
Our play-based program is centered on the premise that each child is a capable, competent, unique individual who brings wonderful qualities and much knowledge to share with others. Each child is recognized and encouraged in a manner that respects the child’s emotional, social, intellectual and physical needs. The educators, facility environment and appropriately selected learning materials promote children’s inquiry and independent exploration through play. Each child is encouraged and enabled to use his/her natural curiosity, independence and creativity to hypothesize and test his/her own ideas.
We are committed to providing maximum quality, safe and nurturing child care. Our curriculum is guided by “How Does Learning Happen? Ontario’s Pedagogy for the Early Years (2014)” and “Early Learning for Every Child Today” (2007). Four foundations – belonging, well-being, expression and engagement – shape our program and build the child-educator and parent-educator relationships.
The curriculum is designed to foster each child’s individual learning style and allows for learning to happen during self-directed play. The educators scaffold on the children’s capabilities and interests by observing and reflecting on the observations; providing provocations, open-ended materials and challenging opportunities; and by making connections as well as asking open-ended questions.
A well-rounded day provides the children with many opportunities to learn and grow. All experiences matter – from the first greeting in the morning, to playing purposefully, to eating lunch, to resting to going home in the afternoon. The daily routines are designed to support children as their skills develop and grow. We strive to keep schedules as flexible as possible within the constraints of the day, such as lunchtime and sharing outdoor spaces. The schedules also include opportunities for quiet and active play, both indoors or outdoors. The elements in each program add to the learning environment and experiences.
Healthy eating is key to well-being. Our menu rotates on a five-week basis, follows Canada’s Food Guide and is reviewed by a nutritionist. We aim to serve a wide variety of food, including whole grains and vegetarian options. Families in our before and after school programs are required to bring snacks, which also follow Canada’s Food Guide and include two food groups. Inspiring Minds School Age Program provides fruit and a grain product for children who do not have their own snack.
The adults at Inspiring Minds ELC value respect, confidence, open-mindedness, persistence and independent thinking. We use these beliefs to guide our interactions, attitudes and relationships. They aid in the development of a secure environment which builds a sense of self-worth, belonging and well-being, as well as encourage the give and take of communication. Educators support and encourage the children to interact and communicate in a positive way. The children practice useful and appropriate strategies to regulate and express their feelings, remain calm, recognize the effect of their actions on others and build resiliency.
Following the premises that every behaviour has a reason and all interactions build relationships, we do not permit:
– corporal punishment
– the deprivation of basic needs including food, drink, shelter, sleep, toilet use, clothing or bedding
– locking the exits of the centre for the purpose of confining children, or confining a child in any locked room or structure or being left without supervision
– harsh or degrading measures or threats that would humiliate, shame, frighten a child or undermine a child’s self-respect, dignity or self-worth
– physical restraint of a child for the purposes of discipline or in lieu of supervision
– inflicting bodily harm on a child, including making a child eat or drink against his/her will or using food as a means to control and/or reward behaviour.
Suspected infractions of these guidelines will be reported to and investigated by the Director or Supervisor.
The most important indicator of quality in an early learning centre is the teaching staff. The educators at Inspiring Minds ELC are trained or are training in the field of Early Childhood Education. They reflect on and document their observations of the children’s learning and the overall program. We pride ourselves on building meaningful relationships with the children and families who use our service.
The educators recognize the value of play and the connection between play and development. Experiences are child-initiated and adult-supported. The educators plan based on their observations, the children’s capabilities and interests as well as their understanding of developmental domains. As co- constructors, the educators add to the children’s interests with their own interests in order to broaden the children’s knowledge.
We believe that when an educator actively engages in professional development, the quality of early learning and care increases. Through development opportunities, we endeavor to continually learn and build upon our practices. Inspiring Minds ELC provides remuneration and opportunities for the educators to attend workshops, conferences and training such as Standard First Aid and CPR.
Inspiring Minds ELC mentors students who are in high school, college or university through co-op placements. We encourage open dialogue between student and educator in order that we may learn from each other.
Creating and maintaining open partnerships with families only improves our connection with the children. Parents and guardians know their children best and are a valued resource. Face to face and written communication with parents and guardians along with documentation of learning are integral to building and maintaining
our relationships. Inspiring Minds ELC offers opportunities for parents to be involved in our organization. They are welcome to enter the program rooms at any time during the day, share their own interests and experiences as special guests, sit on the Board of Directors or a committee and join in the varied social and fundraising events offered throughout the year.
We are committed to maintaining ongoing and establishing new community partnerships which strengthen our service. We work with community agencies, such as Kids Ability, KW Habilitation, Carizon, in order to support children and their families. As well, we view the immediate Wellesley area as a resource by inviting community members into our program as visitors and taking excursions in the village.
We work with Wellesley Public School in order to ease the transition to and from our kindergarten and school age programs. As well, educators are happy to participate in school conferences to support the child and family.
Each year, we raise funds for an outside organization that supports a family from Inspiring Minds ELC (such as Muscular Dystrophy Canada), in order to model inclusiveness and give back to society.
Evaluation and Review
Annually, we ask the Board of Directors, staff and parents for their honest feedback in order to improve our organization. From the surveys, we seek ways to improve and better serve the people who work, volunteer and register with our organization.
Staff, students and volunteers are required to adhere to this program statement as well as our policies and procedures. As such, the program statement, policies and procedures will be reviewed prior to employment or placement, upon revision and annually thereafter. During team meetings, the educators reflect on the implementation of this program statement from an individual and collective perspective.
Members of the Board of Directors, the director, supervisor and educators share the view that the centre is accountable to those who use the service and to the community. Therefore, we endeavor to provide our service in an effective manner, respecting individuals and their values.