Children’s Resources on Wheels Program Statement
Children are competent, capable of complex thinking, curious, and rich in potential. They grow up in families with diverse social, cultural, and linguistic perspectives. Every child should feel that he or she belongs, is a valuable contributor to his or her surroundings, and deserves the opportunity to succeed. When we recognize children as capable and curious, we are more likely to deliver programs and services that value and build on their strengths and abilities. How Does Learning Happen, 2014 page 6.
Children’s Resources on Wheels (CROW) recognizes children are capable and curious and delivers programs and services that value and build on their strengths and abilities. CROW is guided by How Does Learning Happen? Ontario’s Pedagogy for the Early Years as a professional learning resource guide for Educators to support pedagogy and curriculum/program development in our early learning programs. This aligns with the Ministry of Education’s Policy Statement on programming and pedagogy. At CROW we view children and families as community members with valuable ideas and perspectives.
CROW is committed to supporting the goal of the Child Care and Early Years Act in building a child care and early years system that better supports parents and gives children the best possible start in life. We are committed to ensure that the provisions set out in the Act will strengthen compliance, health and safety in our child care settings as well as help parents make informed choices about their options. The individual needs of the child are to be considered at all times throughout the day.
CROW will ensure that all new staff including educators, Home Child Care Providers, as well as students and volunteers, review the program statement prior to interacting with children, on an annual basis, as well as at any time when the Program Statement is modified.
CROW vision statement
Where children are free to engage in play with a sense of belonging, curiosity and wonder, which promotes their growth and development and stimulates their creativity and expression
Where families’ voices are heard, supported and respected in an atmosphere of trust and belonging.
Where families are valued; as they are the most powerful influence on their child’s learning, development, health and well-being.
Where families have access to high quality early learning environments that are inviting, friendly and that encourage positive, responsive relationships.
Where staff are heard, trusted, supported and respected, allowing them to share and express their ideas, knowledge and expertise. Where staff are engaged in curiosity, communication and collaborative practice to build relationships with staff, children, families, and community partners.
Children’s Resources on Wheels is committed to:
Promoting the health, safety, nutrition and well-being of the children
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 staff, home child care providers, volunteers and students.
- We believe that nutritious meals and snacks are critical to promote healthy child development, and that these meals and snacks are provided in an positive environment that is responsive to the child’s cues of hunger and fullness
- Health and safety—CROW endeavors to meet and exceed health and safety requirements of the Ministry of Education and local government bylaws. Information on children with life threatening allergies is posted in Home Child Care provider homes and readily available at other program sites. All parents with children in Home Child Care are provided with the Parent Handbook. Program staff are available to discuss the Parent Handbook, health and safety policies and protocols.
- In CROW Licensed Home Child Care provider homes incorporate indoor and outdoor play, as well as active play, rest and quiet time, into the child’s day.
Supporting positive and responsive interactions among the children, parents, home child care providers and staff
CROW strives to promote a sense of belonging for children and their families in our programs by creating positive interactions and collaboration with families.
We believe that educators are partners in learning with children. We believe that knowledge is socially constructed through relationships with others. With this view, educators build strong trusting relationships with the children, and their families, and learn alongside them. Educators observe and listen to the children and encourage deeper thinking through thoughtful questions, documentation of their thinking and an engaging environment full of a wide range of materials that meet each child’s strengths and interests.
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 encouraged them to come up with ideas and solutions to problems that arise.
CROW is committed to working collaboratively with community partners as we work together on the mutual goal of providing the best possible service to families.
At CROW, we support programming that fosters 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.
- Recognize each child as having equal rights to participate in program activities
- 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 understandings 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.
Our program also recognizes the need for 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 control their emotions, pay attention, ignore distractions, inhibit their impulses and understand the consequences of their actions. We are committed to learning about how to create learning environments and programming that helps support children’s self-regulation—to help children remain or return to a state of calm.
Fostering the engagement of and ongoing communications with parents about the program and their children
We believe that parents are their children’s first teachers and as such, have much to offer to their child’s program. Parent participation can greatly enhance their child’s program and maximize their learning experiences. The meaningful exchange of ideas between educators and parents support the child as they grow and develop within our program. We encourage parents to be active in their child’s experience in our programs through the many opportunities that we offer.
- CROW aims to ensure that families have the support of available, affordable, safe, reliable, high quality programs for their children, which ensures parents peace of mind while their children are in the CROW program. Respect, care, empathy, trust and integrity are core values in our interactions with families.
- We believe that our partnerships with our families help our programs to best meet the needs of the children:
The needs of each child are considered in the context of their family composition, values, culture, and language. This approach enriches relationships between early childhood settings, families, and their communities.
- In addition to the daily interaction with program staff, we offer opportunities for parent feedback and involvement—such as surveys, board of directors, parent education and training workshops. We use parent input to improve our programs and services
Involving local community partners and allowing those partners to support the children, their families and staff
CROW is committed to engaging with local community partners in supporting CROW children, families and staff.
We are active partners with Public Health, Preschool speech and language, Children’s Mental Health (Open Doors), education, Early Integration Program, libraries and other community resources. We value the relationships we continue to build and believe that families are better served with integrated services.
Supporting staff, home child care providers or others who interact with the children in relation to continuous professional learning
Caring, responsive, knowledgeable and reflective educators are essential to children’s early learning experiences. Our Licensed Home Child Care staff and providers have various qualifications including a passion to provide a stimulating learning environment for children. Our Early Childhood Educators are registered with the College of ECE and other qualifications include; Primary Education Studies, Recreation and Leisure and Child and Youth Work. All staff have completed a Criminal Reference Check, Vulnerable Sector Screen, and are required to have a valid standard first aid certification including infant and child CPR. Our staff are dedicated to professional growth and as such attend several Professional Learning workshops and conferences both internally as well as within the Community. Locally, we engage in professional development at Lanark Early Learning and Child Care training events and participate in a voluntary accreditation program, Raising the Bar.
At CROW, 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 the strategies set out (above) on the children and their families
At CROW, we understand that pedagogical documentation is a way for our program staff to learn
The purpose of our documentation is also:
- A way to value children’s experiences and help them to reflect back on those experiences and what they have been learning
- An opportunity to make children’s learning and understanding of the world visible—to themselves, to other children, to their parents and other families, to the program staff
- A way to reflect on developmental growth over a period of time
- A process for program staff to co-plan with children about learning