In Conversation with Moira D’Aoust

Moira.jpgMoira D’Aoust has spent her career leading the cause for inclusive access to licensed childcare for children with special needs in the region of Ottawa. Moira’s authentic belief that all children belong in and have the right to quality childcare has positioned her to be a leader not only in the city of Ottawa but as a visionary throughout the province of Ontario. As she prepares to leave Children’s Integration Support Services (CISS), she met with some of her colleagues over a pot of tea and baked goodies to highlight stories of her journey’s challenges and successes as well as her dreams for the future.

Q. Before CISS started 25 years ago, what supports and programs were available for parents in the community? Continue reading

The Journey of Inclusion

Times have changed from the 1970’s and so has how we include individuals with disabilities. I write as a sister who witnessed how my older sister was a part of these changes. When many children would be attending kindergarten or daycare, I remember accompanying my parents as they went to various places to have my sister tested. Can she speak, listen, comprehend, walk and balance on one foot? Following the assessment, I remember her moving away from home when she was about 5 and half, to go live at Woodlands in British Columbia. When we would pick her up for a family visit, I can recall seeing the padded rooms, people with helmets, some in wheelchairs while I was walking the halls to get to the children’s ward. While at Woodlands, she was taken on a bus out of the institution to attend a special school, which was a rarity at this time. Our father recalls while driving to work catching a glimpse of her, alone on the bus as she went to school.  Continue reading

Involvement and Learning: Children Reclaiming the Environment

“Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.”
̶  Benjamin Franklin

As educators, parents, teachers, principals, we all believe we have the answers for children. These may be solutions to behaviours, the environment, what they should wear or how they should play. This construct was not working in our program and as a team; we needed to pay close attention to see what the children were telling us. With a multitude of observations we realized we needed to provide an environment where every child could thrive regardless of age, cognitive ability, or social skills. Based on our observations, we made changes to our transitions and routines, the environment and the global use of inclusive tools which transformed our center into a preschool program where children reclaimed their environment. Continue reading

Setting Up your School Age Gym Environment

Our gym is set up to provide an inviting, relaxed and recreational environment with a variety of child centered and play based learning activities. The different areas are set up to reflect the expectations of the program and foster the well-being, belonging, expression and engagement of each child and the group, as a whole.  Well established routines help the children to comfortably and safely join or transition from one activity to the next.

Jackson Trail 1.jpgThe snack area is purposefully set up by the gym doors, to allow the educator to greet the children and their parents.  The construction area is at the centre of the gym, on a large carpet in order to encourage walking feet. There is also lots of room for the children to expand their play and continue adding to their structures. Continue reading

Purchasing Toys and Equipment

When Resource Consultants are out in licensed child care programs they are often asked where the equipment they bring is purchased. The following list has been compiled to help programs who wish to purchase materials to support their environments. Having these materials readily available will support educators in meeting the needs of the group and the individual child.  Continue reading