My Space: Creating a Calm Down Area in a School Age Program 

The calm down area in our school age program has gone through several different versions since I began working here 4 years ago. There were times it was non-existent and there were failed attempts at hanging curtains from hula-hoops from the ceiling that came crashing down. For a long time, it consisted of a large dog bed pillow on the window bench with a couple of breathing visuals slapped on the window beside it. One thing it never seemed to be was inviting and, as a result, it was never used.  Continue reading

Circle Time: To Engage or Run?

As an RECE with a full day Headstart Nursery School, I found myself struggling with my concept of a successful circle and what was unfolding around me this past Fall. To put it mildly, my group’s circle time was chaotic. My goal was to assemble the eight children, sit, sing and read for 15 to 20 minutes. Honestly, assembling and sitting as a group was enough of a challenge. How was I to get them engaged or read an age appropriate book when I could barely contain them? What was I doing wrong? Continue reading

The Benefits of Programming to support Children’s Development

Inclusive programming is crucial for the progressive development of skills in children. It provides the means and structure to incorporate children’s interests and to motivate each child in exploring, engaging and learning new skills. Programming reduces challenging behaviours within a group environment because children are actively engaged, motivated, and focussed on play.

While children are engaged in play, adults are able to observe abilities, needs, interests and learning styles to identify the goals and objectives. Programming should include a balance of both child-led and adult facilitated learning. Continue reading

Angelia’s Journey

Angelia 2017_crop

2017

Angelia is currently ten years old and entering Grade 5. Up to July 2017, she attended The Children’s Village at Bridlewood. My grand-daughter is a curious, creative, energetic, enthusiastic and affectionate child who also has special needs. She has several diagnoses: ADHD, LD and ASD. Labels aside, her challenges include social skills, staying on task, emotional regulation and transitions. Using language to express her needs, wants and to carry on conversations is also difficult for her. Most children learn these skills easily; however Angelia requires extra time to learn these. Without the support from our resource consultant from Children’s Inclusion Support Services (CISS) and the dedicated teaching team of the child care program who implemented the recommended strategies, Angelia would not have been able to continue to attend. I also believe that CISS and the teaching team have played a major role in helping her to grow and develop into the child she is today. Continue reading

A Family’s Letter of Appreciation

Inclusion Poster 18 x 24This morning, Madame Paule Mercier, supervisor at Aladin Childcare Services Inc. – Sainte-Anne showed me the new “Inclusion” poster that Children’s Inclusion Support Services (CISS) created to explain the renaming from “integration” to “inclusion”. Besides liking the great photos of our son Emanuel (as well as our dear friend Elise), the poster and photos really speak to how everyone benefits and is enriched by an inclusive environment. My take is that “integration” implied doing things because one had to do them for legal/political reasons, whereas “inclusion” implies doing things because everybody wins and everybody benefits. Continue reading

How families walk the financial tightrope of caring for children with medical complexity

Amy recites expenses with the precision of an accountant. There was the HEPA filter to purify the air in her home: $1000. An American Sign Language (ASL) kit: $1500. A plasma car: $80.

These are all necessary to accommodate Amy’s three-year-old son, Wyatt. Wyatt was born with brainstem dysgenesis, a rare condition where blood flow to the baby’s brain is disrupted during pregnancy. Because of his condition, Wyatt has a host of respiratory, nervous and muscular problems that require special accommodation. Continue reading

Changing Times

AFCS-CISSSpring was a time of new beginnings for the CISS team. A change in the program name to Children’s Inclusion Support Services and a new manager were among the changes for this busy team.

As the new CISS manager, I would like to briefly introduce myself and to extend a thank you for the warm welcome along with an invitation to contact me with any questions, concerns or suggestions about our program. Continue reading