Program Statement and Philosophy
Bright Starts Co-operative Early Learning Centre Inc. strives to promote a positive, safe, loving, nurturing and home-like atmosphere where the health, safety, nutrition and well-being of our children is of the utmost importance. We encourage mutual respect, patience and creativity in an inclusive environment while viewing children as competent, capable, curious and rich in potential. Using How Does Learning Happen? Ontario’s Pedagogy for the Early Years (2014) to guide our programing and pedagogy. We provide a positive framework to support our children and families in an environment that promotes belonging, engagement, expression, and well-being.
Bright Starts CELC believes in supporting positive and responsive interactions among our children, parents, staff, and educators. We encourage a partnership with parents where relationships are respectful of structure, culture, values, language and knowledge. Integrating parent and family presence in a meaningful and authentic way throughout all elements of our program is important to us. We value parent’s unique perspectives and welcome their skills, talents, traditions, and experiences.
We view children as individuals who bring their unique ideas, knowledge, and experiences about their physical and social world to the classroom. Children begin to make sense of their world from the moment they are born. They are active and social learners who are influenced by family, gender, culture and previous experience. We are committed to developing children who love and believe in themselves by nurturing self-confidence and encouraging children to communicate and interact in a positive way. We encourage children to articulate their needs to others and help them to appreciate and empathize with the needs of those around them.
We appreciate that children have a variety of learning styles, methods of understanding and constructing knowledge. For this reason, we plan for and create positive learning environments and experiences in which each child’s learning and development will be supported. We believe that allowing children to actively explore, investigate, take manageable risks, and engage in creative problem-solving, is critical for their physical and mental health and well-being. Through our Emergent approach to play-based learning, we believe that children learn best by doing; exploring the world, and interacting with adults and peers. Their explorations require flexibility and inventiveness. Children react to the outcomes of their investigations and create strategies for discovery. Play is their platform for inquiry and exploration. Through observation, reflection and provocations, our educators create a positive, relevant and meaningful learning environment that takes into account each child’s unique needs and interests. They provide child-initiated and adult-supported experiences both indoors and outdoors, during active play, rest and quiet times. Educators ask questions and build on children’s interests and ideas to foster knowledge, understanding, and a sense of wonder about their physical and social world. In partnership with parents, we encourage children to become aware of their bodies for self-care, nutritious foods, physical activities and rest, in addition to their need for social and emotional engagement. Through these approaches we balance opportunities for children to interact and communicate in positive ways; to support their abilities to overcome challenges, make choices, problem solve, and self-regulate their emotions and behaviours.
In our on-going commitment to the health, safety, nutrition, and well-being of each child, we provide:
- A clean and safe environment:
- Meal plans based on Canada’s Food Guide recommendations;
- Access to drinking water throughout the day;
- Limited transitions and unnecessary disruptions to play;
- Safe play environments that reduce hazards that may cause injury.
Our educators familiarize themselves with all information concerning medical conditions & medication requirements, exceptionalities, allergies, food restrictions, and parental preferences in respect to diet, exercise, and rest time.
We appreciate how important it is for both parents and educators to have regular information about children’s experiences at home, in the community, and in our early learning environment. Communication is paramount; we encourage two-way dialogue and use various tools for communication between parents and educators. It’s important to us to create and maintain a trusting, respectful bond between parents, staff, and children to provide optimal care for each child. By partnering with parents through ongoing communication, we ensure interconnected, positive support for every child.
Involving community partners is an instrumental part of creating a positive and supportive environment. We engage in constructive relationships with community agencies; they provide resources, information, and classroom support to better meet the needs of our children, families, and educators. We work collaboratively with our local universities, community colleges, and high schools to offer opportunities for student training and experiences. Partnering with these institutions provides us with additional knowledge and resources to further support our program. We also welcome volunteers from the community as well.
Our dedicated Early Childhood Educators are all registered through the College of Early Childhood Educators and adhere to a Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice. Our educators are trained in First Aid and CPR and are carefully selected and screened to provide a safe, secure, healthy and inviting environment. With a sustained commitment to ensuring a quality program, we support, encourage and provide opportunities for our educators to participate in continuous professional learning. Investing in our educators in order to remain current in knowledge, skills and professional values is important to us. Through ongoing reflection of their practice, they identify ways in which they can grow professionally.
Bright Starts CELC actively participates in ongoing assessments of our environment to measure the impact of the strategies set out in our program statement. These strategies include, but are not limited to:
- On-going two-way communication with parents;
- Daily program documentation;
- Observations and reflections;
- Monthly team discussions and reflections;
- Semi-monthly one-on-one meetings between employees and managers;
- Annual environmental reviews and observations;
- Annual parent surveys & annual work environment surveys;
- Staff performance reviews with goal setting;
- Staff and team meetings that focus on professional development and support.
Goals are developed from this information to support continuous, quality improvements within our program.
It is essential for us to provide a nurturing environment with experiences that encourage all of our children to reach their full potential. Our program at Bright Starts CELC reflects our philosophy and program statement. To ensure consistent implementation across Bright Starts CELC, all staff, students, and volunteers review the program statement prior to interacting with children. At a minimum, this statement will be reviewed annually by staff, educators, and the Board of Directors. Any modifications will be reviewed by educators to ensure timely implementation.
This Program Statement highlights the guiding principles for our practice. It is continuously brought to life through vibrant prominence in our program.
Guiding and Supporting Documents
Young children benefit from an affirming approach that encourages positive interactions with other children and adults, rather than from a negative or punitive approach to managing unwanted behaviour. Rather than setting out practices to be used to manage children’s behaviour, Bright Starts CELC has set out in our program statement how we will support warm, positive, supportive interactions and relationships between children, families, staff and the community.
The provision of prohibited practices forbids corporal punishment and other harmful disciplinary practices to protect the emotional and physical well-being of children. These practices are never permitted at Bright Starts CELC.
No employee, student or volunteer shall permit a child receiving care at Bright Starts CELC to experience any of the following while under the care of Bright Starts CELC:
(a) corporal punishment of the child;
(b) physical restraint of the child, such as confining the child to a high chair, car seat, stroller or other device for the purposes of discipline or in lieu of supervision, unless the physical restraint is for the purpose of preventing a child from hurting himself, herself or someone else, and is used only as a last resort and only until the risk of injury is no longer imminent;
(c) locking the exits of the child care centre for the purpose of confining the child, or confining the child in an area or room without adult supervision, unless such confinement occurs during an emergency and is required as part of the licensee’s emergency management policies and procedures;
(d) use of harsh or degrading measures or threats or use of derogatory language directed at or used in the presence of a child that would humiliate, shame or frighten the child or undermine his or her self-respect, dignity or self-worth;
(e) depriving the child of basic needs including food, drink, shelter, sleep, toilet use, clothing or bedding; or
(f) inflicting any bodily harm on children including making children eat or drink against their will.