Supporting families and their children as they learn through play; fostering each child’s individual social, emotional, and cognitive development as they learn to live in the world around them.
PROGRAM STATEMENT AND IMPLEMENTATION
At Avon Co-operative Nursery School, we follow How Does Learning Happen? Ontario’s Pedagogy for the Early Years; in order to be consistent with the Minister’s policy statement on programming and pedagogy, which reflects children as be ing competent, capable, curious and rich in potential. This Program Statement is reviewed and revised annually to reflect our current goals from a programming perspective. As our staff continues to learn, we continue to improve, therefore our program continues to evolve and improve as well.
We are adapting our Program Statement for the 2021/22 School Year to reflect the changes that will need to occur due to COVID-19. We will be leaving this Program Statement open for updating as the year progresses and will adapt our programming as necessary to respond to the best practices in response to the current situation.
The Foundations of How Does Learning Happen?
Belonging: Every child has a sense of belonging when he or she is connected to others and contributes to their world. Well-Being: Every child is developing a sense of self, health, and well-being.
Engagement: Every child is an active and engaged learner who explores the world with body, mind, and senses. Expression: Every child is a capable communicator who expresses himself or herself in many ways.
It is our aim at Avon Co-op to provide a program that encompasses these goals. The following section outlines our goals and the approaches used to implement and achieve them.
Goal #1: To develop a strong sense of belonging in the children, families and educators who are involved with our school.
This goal encompasses: CCEYA Section 46(3)(b) Support positive and responsive interactions among the children, par ents, child care providers and staff; (g) incorporate indoor and outdoor play, as well as active play, rest, and quiet time into the day, and give consideration to the individual needs of the children receiving child care; and (i) involve local community partners and allow those partners to support the children, their families, and staff.
Approaches to Achieve Goal #1: Avon Co-op lays the foundation of and for a positive learning environment for the children who attend our program. By being apart of our nursery school, a sense of belonging will grow in children as they develop a secure relationship with their teachers and the staff. Children develop a sense of belonging by interacting with their peers in a positive manner through self-directed play and engaging activities. This is measurable and noticeable when observing these interactions. It is our hope that this sense of belonging develops and strengthens over the course of the family’s time at our school.
While Avon Co-op values being a visible part of our community, how we achieve this may be varied at this current time as visitors to the program will be limited for the foreseeable future. In the past, we have enjoyed bringing community partners in to be apart of our programming and while we hope to one day be able to do this again, right now, we will focus on other ways to create a sense of belonging within our community whether it be virtually or with enhanced activities that allow children to see and experience things that they may see when out with their families. We have enjoyed the opportunity to include visits to places within the community such as a local farm, and outdoor Conservation education facility, and more; and should this become an option for us again, we will be pleased to provide these enriching experiences. The community involvement piece of our programming is truly valued and while we may not be able to engage with this as we typically have each school year, we soon hope to be able to return to it to continue to expand it and reach out to other members of the community to enrich our programming with their presence. Community members such as veterinarians, librarians elderly neighbours/friends and community helpers/service providers coming into our program to interact with the children allows for the children to experience the world around them while in the familiar setting of their school which allows for comfort and familiarity. Providing these experiences has value beyond the toddler and preschool years. The experiences that the nursery school child is engaged in directly responds to the idea that children are competent, capable, curious, and rich in potential. Through making observations of the children in the various community-based elements of our program, the educators can document the child’s sense of self-confidence increasing. During this time of social and physical distancing, a sense of community and connection is vitally important for the emotional well-being of children and educators alike, thus creating and fostering this important piece within cohorts is imperative.
We will be able to offer this by engaging activities both indoors and outdoors that allow for many different types of play including active, quiet, co-operative, and parallel play that allows children to choose their activities based on their own individual interests. Our program as a whole, both Toddler and Preschool Programs, are strengthened by observing children and their interests and planning for activities that support and follow this direction. Observations are made and documented by the RECE staff and thus, parents are able to see the progression and development of the children throughout the school year.
Goal #2: To develop a strong sense of well-being for the children, families, and educators involved in our school.
This goal encompasses: Section CCEYA 46(3) (a) promote the health, safety, nutrition, and well-being of the children and (j) support staff… or others who interact with the children at a child care centre… in relation to continuous professional learning.
Approaches to Achieve Goal #2: A child’s developing sense of well-being and self is encouraged while learning about healthy day to day habits such as hand washing and healthy eating during daily routines. The family style snack (while altered due to distancing requirements) is an element of our program that allows for learning opportunities regarding nutrition. Various snack items spark many discussions and learning opportunities. Through the free choice play time with the ability for all children to choose between activities such as gross motor, fine motor and various other unstructured and structured, all children are able to develop their ability to self-direct their own learning which directly develops children’s sense of well-being. A child’s sense of well-being is also developed while spending time at Avon Co-op through the knowledge they are cared for and valued for who they are. They will feel secure in the relationships they develop with their peers and teachers, and this will have a positive impact on their sense of well-being. These relationships and learning opportunities lead to an increase in awareness about how people live, cooperate, and interact successfully. Through developing a strong sense of well-being, children’s ability to self-regulate develops. Self-regulation skills are encouraged and enhanced by the use of programs such as Second Step and programming that allows for much free choice offered to the children as well as during the snack time that is offered daily where children are able to participate, interact and have conversations with their peers and their teachers.
Our municipality allows for visits from a Resource Teacher through the City of Stratford. This is a benefit to not only the children who may have an Individual Service Plan, but also to our program teachers as they can utilize the skills of the Re source Teacher to augment their programming to best suit the needs of all the children, thus creating an inclusive environment.
Avon Co-op’s teachers are encouraged to participate in professional development whenever possible. Generally, our educators are willing to participate in various sessions throughout the school year. This gives them the ability to enrich the programming further and supports the College of Early Childhood Educator’s mandate for Continuous Professional Learning.
Goal #3: To develop a pattern whereby the children, families, and educators who are involved in our school are actively engaged and relationships are built.
This goal encompasses: CCEYA Section 46(3) (d) foster the children’s exploration, play and inquiry; (e) provide child initiated and adult-supported experiences; (f) plan for and create positive learning environments and experiences in which each child’s learning and development will be supported; and (k) document and review the impact of the strategies set out in clauses (a) – (j).
Approaches to Achieve Goal #3: By interacting with the other children in the program, the teachers and the program staff, the children at Avon Co-op will learn about their world and how they fit into it. Our program offers interesting, engaging, and open-ended activities, provocations, and child-directed experiences that are meant to allow children to learn using all of their senses and experience what is around them physically and cognitively. This will encourage the children to become invested and fully engaged in their own interests. Thus, allowing the children to take control of their own learning and consequently setting the stage for successful educational experiences in the future. Our educators are keen observers and can understand children’s development in a meaningful way. Through the documentation of the children’s development and the display of such throughout the school and by sharing this with families through both email and through documentation books, the families become actively engaged and our relationship with them is solidified and strengthened. Through sharing informative articles, having speakers when possible, and communicating items of interest to parents through various means, parents can gain knowledge and increased confidence in their role as parents and in turn the relationship be tween home and school is strengthened as we work together. Our school has an “open door policy” whereby parents are welcome to visit our program to observe and interact whenever they are so inclined; however, due to Covid-19 restrictions, we will need to be creative in our method of achieving this either virtually, with photos, phone conversations, etc. We hope that all families can feel connected to their child’s experience at Avon Co-op and will feel welcome to communicate with staff in various methods.
Goal #4: To ensure that children, families, and educators involved with our school are able to engage in effective and meaningful communication and methods of expression.
This goal encompasses: CCEYA Section 46(3) (c) encourage the children to interact and communicate in a positive way and support their ability to self-regulate; and (h) foster the engagement of and ongoing communication with parents about the program and their children
Approaches to Achieve Goal #4: At Avon Co-op we engage in effective and engaging communication and interactions with our children and their families each day; thus, creating an extension of the home environment where comfort and positive experiences are of utmost importance. By being able to take charge of their own experiences, children who attend Avon Co-op will benefit as they become active learners who are able to express themselves and communicate in an effective way. We strive to communicate with each family regularly and meaningfully. Through modelling ways of communicating and problem solving skills, children’s ability to communicate is strengthened. We can see effective communication and its benefits each day when interacting with the children and their families. Through communication of learning through documentation and sharing this learning with families and communicating effectively in various manners (for example: Friday reminder emails, the white board, Facebook, etc) the home-school relationship is strengthened through strong communication.
Final thoughts on the measurable outcomes of our goals: Our program focuses on our core values at Avon Co-operative Nursery School. We believe that children are important. We feel that children need the opportunity to discover how to interact with others in a safe and nurturing atmosphere as they develop their self-worth, confidence, and communication skills. Expressing their thoughts, feelings and acceptance of others is encouraged through our programming. Those with different abilities and capabilities are welcomed, accepted, and valued equally. The documentation of each child’s progression with regard to each goal allows for measurement of the achievement of these goals and by communicating and listen ing effectively and purposefully with families and fellow educators.
We appreciate and include many different aspects within our program to create a well-rounded, interesting and exciting experience for the children with whom we are privileged to spend our mornings.
Communicating for the purpose of engagement and connection is our focus for the 2021/22 School Year, especially given the lack of face-to-face contact in light of distancing requirements due to Covid-19. Creativity to do this effectively will be essential.
OUR CO-OPERATIVE NURSERY SCHOOL PROGRAM
Our co-operative has a dual purpose: to promote greater understanding by parents in matters related to early childhood education, and to provide an excellent first school experience for the children.
This is our purpose as well as our goal at Avon Co-op. In order to be successful we all must work together. Our handbook has been compiled to assist you in becoming familiar with the policies and guidelines by which the school functions, as well as, to acquaint you with the school philosophy and our program and all the elements of it. Our handbook will also give you some helpful hints on your role as an engaged parent. We encourage you to read it and refer to it throughout the school year.
A set of the by-laws by which our school is governed are available at the school.
We hope that the handbook will help you to be more knowledgeable regarding the organization and day-to-day functioning of Avon Co-operative Nursery School.