Growing Minds Child Care Centre is dedicated to quality Early Learning and Child Development. Our program enhances development by offering a variety of play-based opportunities which foster the social, emotional, physical and cognitive development of all children. We recognize and support children’s need to play, explore and interact in a positive way with elements in our environment. Growing Minds offers a well-structured daily routine, with plenty of flexibility to meet the individual needs of children. We believe that infants are “The Centre” of their curriculum. It is of utmost importance that we respect the infant and their family. We value infant’s choices, their potential for development and their right to consistent care. We also recognize how important it is that an infant’s family is able to have input and receive information regarding their infant’s day.
The staff at Growing Minds believes it is important for infants to independently make choices throughout the day. We have a wide variety of developmentally appropriate toys available at the infant’s level so they are able to choose materials of interest. Infants have the opportunity to choose to participate in any activities that we provide throughout the day. At meal and snack times we allow children to choose what they want to eat or drink.
We also recognize that infants learn and develop on a daily basis. The staff support this development by speaking to the children in simple, repetitive and consistent language. We explain our actions as we change their diapers, put them to sleep and feed them. We spend time reading books with them, singing songs with them and playing with the toys together. Children are encouraged to practice self-help skills. Examples of this include putting their cups in the fridge, finding their own diapers, getting their chairs out for meal times and having a stool at the sink so they can independently reach the sink. Providing these opportunities helps to build trusting relationships between the children and their caregivers. These trusting relationships help the infants feel comfortable and safe in order to grow and learn.
We encourage and support infant social development in a variety of ways. We provide toys that encourage sharing and spend time modeling how to share. At meal times we have tables that encourage the Children to interact with each other and we spend time talking about all the food that everyone is eating.
The staff at Growing Minds Child Care strives to ensure that infants are receiving consistent care between home and daycare. Upon enrollment, parents/guardians and caregivers discuss how and when the children are put to sleep, their eating habits, what they like to play with and other pertinent information regarding the infant. Caregivers do their best to ensure that the infant’s daily routine is similar to their day at home. In order to best meet the needs of younger infants the main floor program offers morning and afternoon nap times. Older infants, requiring only one nap, are enrolled in the second floor program. Infants that arrive very early can be served breakfast (which is brought in from home) by a caregiver between 7:00 and 7:30.
Building a relationship with parents/guardians is central to the Growing Minds Child Care infant program. Caregivers achieve this using a variety of communication methods. At drop off times, parents/guardians will be asked about their infant’s night and morning so that we are well informed and can offer the best possible care. At pickup times, parents/guardians are given verbal information about their child’s day. Throughout the day, information is documented regarding each infant’s nap, feeding and drinking, and diapering schedules. Throughout the week, we take pictures of the children at play. At the end of the week, we then print and post these pictures on our “Learning Through Play” board, along with information about what the children are learning while they are engaged in specific types of play.
Growing Minds Child Care infant staff offer sensory oriented activities for the children in their care. This means that each activity provided for the infants to participate in will engage one of their five senses. Touch activities can include anything from playing with water, snow, cooked spaghetti or cookie dough to putting materials with interesting textures in the toy baskets. Taste activities include simple baking, taste testing activities and trying new foods at snack times. In addition to this, we ensure all materials available to the infants are safe for them to put in their mouths because learning about things through gumming them is a natural part of infant development. We also provide opportunities for infants to listen to different types of music and provide them with shakers and toys that make unique noises. The infant’s sense of sight is constantly engaged and we strive to ensure that they are not visually over-stimulated. We do, however, provide the children with things from nature, culturally diverse materials (such as books, play food, photos) and family pictures to look at. Infants’ sense of smell is engaged at snack times, spending time outside and enjoying the fresh flowers that we occasionally have in our room.
Our room is also set up to encourage learning through play. We have a wide variety of toys grouped in a manner that helps the children learn and explore. Long periods of uninterrupted free play are scheduled so that our infants have sufficient time to become involved in their activities. Our schedule includes only the necessities – playing, eating, sleeping and toileting. To ensure that the children are exposed to new materials, rotating our toys is done on a regular basis. Each morning staff has time off the floor to do a variety of tasks for our program. These tasks include (but are not limited to) disinfecting toys, rotating toys, creating new materials for our program, planning activities and updating our “Learning Through Play” board.
Children in attendance and their families are represented in various photographs throughout the room. Children spend time with senior residents in the building who speak culturally diverse languages, participate in story times, and walk to businesses in their community. Parents/guardians and staff are provided opportunities to get to know each other through functions such as the children’s holiday party and other planned events, as well as having parents/guardians spend time in the program visiting with their children and staff.
Growing Minds Child Care Centre strongly believes in the importance of appropriate physical touch in the infant program. We believe that children flourish in an environment where they are loved and can bond with their caregivers. A focus on touch, love and bonding is emphasized in our programs. All children will be hugged, held and told that they are loved on a daily basis.
Growing Minds Child Care Centre is dedicated to quality Early Learning and Child Development. Our program enhances development by offering a variety of play- based learning opportunities which foster the social, emotional, physical and cognitive development of all children. We recognize and support children’s need to play, explore and interact in a positive way with elements in our environment. Growing Minds offers a well-structured daily routine, with plenty of flexibility to meet the individual needs of children. Opportunity for large amounts of uninterrupted play is offered throughout the day, eliminating disruption and transition during involved play times. Snack times and teacher directed activity is optional for the children, allowing them to decide on their level of participation.
The staff of Growing Minds Child Care support learning through play by creating learning opportunities in the physical environment throughout the day. Staff offers a balance of planned and spontaneous daily play experiences. Planned play experiences are closely related to the children’s’ interests, and based on observations of their play experiences. Observations are conducted daily, during regular free play, capturing moments when children are engaged in play. Observations are recorded on detailed sheets and kept in a staff binder so that all members can keep informed of all observations made by team members. Spontaneous activities also occur through observation, noting the type of play and how it is selected, and offering materials and equipment to support that play.
The development of social/ emotional skills is supported by establishing opportunities for children to pretend play, having access to a variety of materials to expand their play, and experiment with different roles. Children will be encouraged to openly express their emotions which are validated by the caregivers in their programs. Caregivers are respectful and interested in what children are learning about. You will see staff asking children open-ended questions, getting down to their level and actively participating in play. The environment offers play opportunities for both large and small group interaction. Larger group activities are designed to encourage turn taking, smaller groups to foster the importance of friendship.
In support of cognitive skill development, children are offered open-ended art materials to create their own masterpieces which are proudly displayed throughout the programs. Materials are readily available at all times and have a variety of textures and styles, and colors. Access to these materials creates opportunity to practice fine motor skills using scissors, markers, glue and paint while allowing children to express themselves through their individual creations. Equipment offered includes puzzles, sorting and stacking toys, books, and games, which support counting, color recognition, language development and the use of self-help skills and independence. The play space is set up to encourage exploration, creativity and the opportunity to use the materials in ways other than their original intention. As the children’s interests shift, the staff provide new and interesting materials and rotate toys to assist the children expand their learning and play.
Growing Minds Child Care Centre is committed to physical activity in children, providing both indoor and outdoor opportunities for exercise and muscle development. Children are offered daily gym time where they have access to balls, scooters, parachute play, riding toys, obstacle courses and running space. Children also spend a minimum of one hour each day in our Natural Playground, designed to encourage exploration of the environment and experiment with climbing, running, jumping, bicycling, rolling, digging, and sliding. All children, regardless of ability, are encouraged to maintain a healthy level of daily physical activity to promote a healthy lifestyle and love of the outdoors. The playground offers a variety of landscape textures such as soft grass, course sand, warm dirt, hard rocks, smooth bark and running water. Materials are designed to stimulate the children’s’ senses.
Growing Minds Child Care Centre is a family oriented program which encourages families to spend time together in our programs. Parents/guardians and caregivers are encouraged to participate in activities with their children daily, spend time with their children during snacks and remain to play at the beginning and end of their child’s day. Daily verbal and written communication with parents/guardians is essential. Staff will convey to parents/guardians their child’s experiences of the day, as well as keep a written journal of each child’s experiences. Community relationships are also valued. Growing Minds Child Care Centre frequently takes children into community based organizations such as the grocery store, hardware store, post office, bank and other community organizations, so that children learn an appreciation for the services that are offered in our community, and see the important roles that members of the community play. We focus on an intergenerational program with the senior residents living in the adjoining Niverville Credit Union Manor. The residents are lovingly referred to as “grandfriends” and together participate in cooking, crafts, games, gardening and special holiday events with the children.