Robin’s Nest Early Childhood Education Centre: St. Thomas Child Care
Robin’s Nest Early Childhood Education Centre Early Childhood Education Centre is a trusted, licensed child care facility that has served St. Thomas for many years. We’re located on a gorgeous one-and-a-half acre property that comes complete with mature trees allowing children to play, explore and discover nature.
Our Early Childhood Education Centre Philosophy
Play is at the heart of Robin’s Nest Early Childhood Education Centre. We believe that by building positive and responsive relationships with each of our children we can use exploration, play and discovering within a safe, comfortable and stimulating environment to lay a foundation in the children's formative years for future learning and optimizing our children's long term success. We place a special emphasis on building each child’s self-confidence, social skills, intellectual development, language skills and physical development in a quality age-stage atmosphere, created by caring, interested and enthusiastic teachers who foster and nurture the positive growth and development of each individual child.
Our Program Statement
Robin’s Nest’s programs are guided by “How does Learning Happen? Ontario’s Pedagogy for the Early Years (2014)” document published by the Ontario government.
Robin’s Nest programs view children as being competent and capable in making many of their own choices, thus allowing children to play and explore in a safe child friendly environment. Our program encourages children to use their natural curiosity to expand their potential to learn and create new ideas and thoughts. At Robin’s Nest, interest centers are arranged in each classroom so children can move freely about, choosing one activity and then another as he or she wishes. Play can be alone or with a friend. It is a child sized world so that a child can respond to play impulses at will. It is important that children are stimulated by the environment to promote a natural and spontaneous approach to learning. Each child has the opportunity to use, explore and invent weekly events, items or objects that are open ended to provoke new learning opportunities.
Robin’s Nest will support each child’s health by giving each child individual attention as they enter into our care to ensure their individual health needs are met daily. We will guide and teach the children about keeping our environment clean and safe to keep us healthy and how to look after our bodies by such areas as washing our hands before we eat, after we toilet and when we come in from playing outside. We will also have times throughout the year where we teach the children about healthy habits such as brushing their teeth, sleeping and eating. Health Policies have been put in place to ensure children that are ill or have health issues be taken care of and support is offered to families as needed.
Safety is a must when it comes to caring for young children, all classrooms, as well as our outdoor play areas are inspected daily prior to children entering them to ensure the environment is safe for the children. Third party inspections are completed for both indoor and outdoor areas yearly to ensure all safety expectations are met and in place. Third party inspections are completed by the St. Thomas Public Health Unit, St. Thomas Fire Dept., Ministry of Education and a Playground Inspection company. Our educators teach the children during daily routine and activities about staying safe, both inside and outside and guide them in making good choices and how to avoid hurting themselves or others.
Children’s nutritional intake is important for their health and development. At Robin’s Nest we offer the children a four week rotating menu for each the Spring/Summer & Fall/Winter months of the year allowing for many variety of food choices. The menus are designed using the Canadian Food Guide for both nutritional recommendations and nutritional intake of food servings, as well as, menu aids offered by the St. Thomas Health Unit are used. Snacks and meals are offered in a positive eating environment with food and portion sizes served that are responsive to children’s cues of hunger and fullness. Options are available for children with special dietary needs for allergies, intolerance or parents’ personal or religious choices. We treat each child with respect, caring and guiding each individually about their health, safety and nutrition as our goal is to have each child feel comfortable, be healthy and happy as each child’s well-being is the key to successful learning.
Fostering a good relationship with our families, our children and our co-workers is an important priority to us. Our educators will maintain daily positive and responsive interactions with our families, our children and their co-workers. In greeting each family as they enter care and exit care with open communication about their child’s daily activities, interests, development and goals allowing us to develop a trusting and caring relationship with each family. This will also make the child’s transition into care safe and comfortable enabling them to start and end their day with a positive experience. During our daily programs our educators will interact with the children by responding positively to their cues and engage in reciprocal interactions with them, this will develop a secure relationship and contribute to the children’s emotional well-being and safe learning environment.
We strive to connect with each child and to recognize and value each of their unique spirit, individuality and presence. Robin’s Nest programs and policies are designed to promote each child’s development. While it is important to ensure attention to the “traditional” domains of development such as social, emotional, physical, cognitive and language development, we also need to develop the creative, aesthetic and spiritual dimensions of development. Our staff include Registered Early Childhood Educators that have studied child development. They are educated to foster and develop programs, events and environments that support, challenge and provoke various development levels to ensure each child is developing and continues to reach their full potential. Weekly observations of the children’s interests, ideas and verbal thoughts are recorded in order to plan future program events, objects or additions to the classrooms. Weekly program plans are posted in each classroom. These programs are co-planned using the children observations recorded and educators’ knowledge and experience. Our physical set-up is designed to foster a child’s development needs to become independent and self-reliant allowing the opportunity for the children to explore, play, inquire at will and to follow their natural curiosities. Children will also be encouraged to be self-reliant in routines such as dressing, toileting, washing, eating and tidying up their playthings, with support when needed.
Self-regulation is how we respond to our environment, including stresses through thoughts, emotions and behaviours; children learn this in their very early years. Children often learn to regulate thoughts, feelings, behaviours and emotions by watching and responding to adult self-regulation. Our strategy is to use modeling/demonstrating appropriate behaviours and reactions along with cues and hints. Cues and hints are simple directions, gestures or touches to assist children on how and when to regulate their emotions, attention and behaviour. It is important to monitor each child’s progress to ensure an adult intervenes only when necessary to provide appropriate support. Teaching and assisting the children on appropriate ways to self-regulate will allow the children to become actively engaged learners. Self-regulating games will also be introduced to the children to allow them to discover that they can control their body movements, verbal sounds, tones and emotions.
Our programs and classrooms are set up to create a positive learning experience where the child initiates play and interactions, along with adult supported experiences. Each child’s learning and development is fully supported by an educator. Our educators will collaborate with the children. When they take a purposefully curious approach to new experiences and ideas rather than acting as the expert, children are more likely to engage in creative problem solving and more complex play and inquiry. The educators will design their classrooms and outdoor spaces so they spark curiosity, invite imaginations and provide challenges. They will provide a wide variety of interesting objects and open-ended materials for the children to explore with their senses, manipulation and investigation. The program is balanced to include indoor and outdoor play, active play, lunch and snack times, rest and quite times giving consideration to all the children’s needs throughout the day. Daily routines are planned and posted in or by each classroom on the Parent Communication Boards. The routines include limited interruptions and transitions allowing for a sense of calm and simplicity while providing ample opportunities through large blocks of time for the children to engage in sustained complex play and inquiry.
We would like our parents and guardians to be part of their child(ren)’s education experience. It is important to foster the engagement of and ongoing communication about the program and their children. For the infants and toddlers, we will provide each family with daily reports. The daily reports will allow families to know how their child’s day was, what activities they enjoyed, their nutritional intake, the time they napped and their toileting routines. Preschool children will receive weekly reports outlining weekly activities they enjoyed, challenges they may have, what they can look forward to in upcoming programs and their general well-being. Daily reports are also available to preschool families if they choose. Each family will be given a monthly calendar with events and happenings along with a newsletter which will consist of reminders, news, policy reviews and other information as appropriate. Parent information boards are located in or by each classroom. They include weekly programs and provocations, routines, menus, special events or requests. The educators will also display weekly items such as documentations, pictures, objects etc. to enable the children’s learning and development to be visible to children, parents, guardians and community supporters. Individual development booklets are also updated on a monthly basis by the educators to ensure each child’s development is being looked at individually. Parents and guardians are encouraged to come into the classrooms and speak with the educators often about their children and to provide feedback on how our programs are helping their child’s development, browse their child’s individual development booklet, as well as provide ideas, suggestions or thoughts on how changes or improvements can be made.
Robin’s Nest often works with and welcomes our community partners such as, but not limited to, the Elgin-St. Thomas Health Unit, Merry Mounts-All Kids Belong Program, Themes Valley Children’s Centre, CNIB and Tyke Talk. Our community partners are welcome to attend the center with the families they support or to visit the child(ren) they provide support to. This will also allow our educators to be involved in the specific need and supports set up for the individual child or family and to ensure the supports are consistent for each child both at home and while in our care. If support needs are identified we also work with parents/guardians to ensure they are aware of the support that is offered in our community. Each of our children with a special need has a documented individualized support plan in place and that is shared educators, parents and/or guardians and community partners that are involved with the child(ren).
Robin’s Nest ensures continual learning opportunities are available to our educators, as this allows them to keep current in their professional learning and in turn providing professional care to our children. Each educator is responsible to attend professional development courses each year.
Robin’s Nest is committed to ensure the approaches outlined in this program statement have been implemented in our programs and are documented and followed. The documentation will be reviewed and reflected upon regularly by educators, the supervisor and the administration to ensure the impact of our strategy set out and the approaches in this program statement meet the requirements under the Child Care & Early Years Act. Documentation used to review and reflect our approaches will include: Documentation by writing or recording information such as the children’s attendance, ill health observations, daily inspections, notes in our log books, various policy forms, letters, staff observations and performance reviews....documentation we do on a daily basis. It will also include observations which are written notes the staff take to remind them of things they may see or hear during the week from children, parents, staff and/or support workers to investigate further either this program week or to add to a future program. Pedagogical documentation will also be reviewed and reflected on, and this documentation is a tool to make children’s learning visible. It can help educators gain greater insight into children’s thinking throughout everyday experiences. It is also used to reflect children’s thinking, to help them generate new ideas, learning and discoveries. This documentation allows us to gather, share and discuss evidence of development and learning with parents, children and other educators. Part of what makes pedagogical documentation useful is to review the iterative process the educators use to examine and respond to the interplay between learning, the educator’s pedagogical decisions and the child’s role and voice in the learning. Pedagogical documentation is required weekly by each educator. This is a visual tool that can be seen by parents, supervisors, community partners and is to show current evidence of what the children are experiencing, learning and exploring in their classroom.
This policy statement will be reviewed on a yearly basis or sooner if changes are required, to ensure the goals and approaches set out remain in line with “How Does Learning Happen?” and the Child Care and Early Years Act. This will be completed by the administration in coordination with the supervisor and the program staff. This review will be recorded in the Ministry of Education licensing binder outlining who completed the review, the date of the review and any modifications made to the current program statement.
Contact us today to learn more about our programs.
Pedagogy is “the understanding of how learning takes place and the philosophy and practice that support that understanding of learning”
Foundations of How Learning Happens
(as outlined in the “How Does Learning Happen?” Document noted above)
These four foundations apply regardless of age, ability, culture, language, geography or setting and are aligned with the Ontario Kindergarten programs. They are conditions that children naturally seek for themselves.
Belonging, meaning a sense of connectedness to others, and includes a child's experiences of being valued, of forming relationships with others and making contributions as part of a group.
Well-Being addresses the importance of physical and mental health and wellness. It incorporates capacities such as self-care, sense- of-self and self-regulation skills.
Engagement means that the children are involved and focused. When children explore the world around them with their natural curiosity and exuberance, they are fully engaged. With this type of play and inquiry they develop skills such as problem solving, creative thinking and innovating, all are essential for learning and success.
Expression or communication – Children need both to be heard and to be listened to which can happen in many different forms. Through their bodies, words and use of materials children will develop capabilities for increasingly complex communication. Opportunities given to explore materials support creativity, problem solving and mathematical behaviours. Giving the children a language rich environment supports their growing communication skills which are foundational for literacy.
In the early years, programs are the most effective when the content of learning is focused on supporting the development of strategies, dispositions and skills for lifelong learning through play and inquiry. Problem solving and critical thinking, communication and collaboration, creativity and imagination, initiative and citizenship are all capacities vital for success throughout school and beyond. Contact us today to learn more about our programs.