Freight House Early Learning & Care Inc. provides every child with a nurturing learning environment. We are inclusive to all children and families and encourage all children to accept and embrace the diversity of our community. Freight House Early Learning & Care’s philosophy states that children learn through their involvement in the play environment through the use of all their senses. These experiences aid the child’s ability for self-discovery and problem solving while providing a variety of learning opportunities for building strengths in all levels of development, social, emotional, cognitive and physical, in accordance with current emergent curriculum practices.
Our role as Early Childhood Educators is to provide enriched experiences and materials for children to safely explore. Respectful individualized care promotes self confidence in the child, allowing them to interact with their environment. The environment must be full of opportunities for conceptual learning, self-awareness language development and peer relationships. Our care giving must reflect a secure, calm, respectful realm for the child. Our care and environment must also have direct information and guidance from the parents and family to achieve the balance the child needs to become comfortable and the staff knowledgeable.
Infants and toddlers are ever growing and developing; therefore their needs change as well. Because of their dependency and individualism, as caregivers we must be aware of their own schedules. Respectful care giving includes obtaining information from parents initially and daily feedback to meet these changing needs. At Freight House Early Learning & Care Inc. we encourage our new families to visit as often as they can before their child is to begin at the centre. This is a valuable learning time for staff to become familiar each family’s values, diversity, the child and their schedule. Parents and children in turn become familiar with the staff, our centre, routines and environment. In addition to the visits, we have a prepared questionnaire for parents to fill out, detailing sleep, eating, and daily routines and any requirements. We encourage parents to verbally share any daily concerns or information. The staff then record any daily needs the child may have.
Labeling what is occurring reinforces communication. Singing, sound mimicking, repetition, labeling and responding to the child’s expressions is a part of the process of language development. Listening and responding to the child’s expressions of emotions, being tired, hungry, sad or frustrated respects their communication, as well allowing time for the child to figure things out strengthens this respect.
Throughout the child’s day we encourage children to accept the abilities and diversity of each other. Staff guide children to interact with children with varying abilities and needs, creating respectful relationships. We enhance this with pictures of the families, children and staff within the child’s room. We respect language preferences, cultural requests and food and nap requests. The children are exposed to sign language, different languages spoken, cultural diverse dolls, books, music, daily living items, food and pictures.
Children need space to safely explore. Respectful care giving includes planning an environment that includes quiet, individual areas, soft cozy areas, areas for socialization and peer observation as well as includes space to crawl, stand, and take steps and to run. Language development and communication is an all-encompassing occurrence throughout the child’s day. The staff support language acquisition through enriched care giving, conversational reading time and sequential learning games. Staff mentor the relationship between the spoken word and the object or emotion, focusing on the individual child. Within the environment, there must be many learning tools. This can include a variety of age appropriate toys, familiar everyday items such as loose parts, to touch and explore and challenging items that test out conceptual and sensory learning along with problem solving.
Areas in the room will include book areas, puppets and soft items, play food and dishes, cupboards, dress up clothes that are familiar and /or seasonal, small or fine motor manipulatives, blocks, large and small, hard and soft. Instruments as well as items for producing sound making; banging sounds with metal or plastic bowls, loud and soft sounds, items to create shakers and rhythm, with lots of singing and finger plays by the staff. Movement enticing articles are also provided, such as scarves, bubbles, fabric etc, along with a variety of recorded sounds and ethnic music.
Included in all areas would be loose parts. Loose parts are unique additions to every area and include everyday items and items from nature. Containers, containers with lids, small containers that fit in to others, containers that stack, containers that can be filled up and dumped out, add to the small motor and block area. Concepts that are being practiced can include, empty and full, on and off, in and out, small and big, size discrimination, what fits and what doesn’t. Boxes can incorporated and be small and large to fit items in or to fit themselves into. Body awareness and ability can be explored with in and out and behind, under and on, challenging yet safe to explore. Textures such as fabric,scrunches, mesh, card board, enhance sensory exploration. Natural items such as wood pieces, tree stumps, drift wood, tree bark, flat rocks create items to stack as well touch and smell. Sensory exploration is a main part of early years. Every item should be able to be explored through touch, smell, or mouthing. With that in mind, science items such as sand, soil and water play are offered with close supervision. Chalk, paint, crayons, play dough are also introduced in small groups.