Category Archives: Early Learning and Care

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

The Hugging Tree

Hugging tree 3.jpgThe “Hugging Tree” is a permanent fixture in our preschool classroom. It is the centre of our community time where we express our emotions and share how we are feeling. Social-emotional skills are an important element of preschool and children need to know that they are in a safe place where they can express their emotions and that there are caring adults who can help them understand and deal with their feelings.

We were finding that certain friends in our program needed plenty of hugs on a daily basis and that they were attempting to get hugs from all of their friends. Some friends didn’t always want a hug and would run away. This would create a “chase” throughout the classroom with the possibility of somebody falling and getting hurt. Continue reading

More Reflections on How Does Learning Happen?

HDLH.jpgAs a RECE and a resource consultant who has worked in the ECE field for more than 30 years, I initially was uninspired by the Ministry of Education’s publication How Does Learning Happen? (HDLH). Weren’t the 4 Foundations (Belonging, Engagement, Well-Being and Expression) just common sense? It was only when I took a second look at the document and the questions it posed that I realized how valuable it could be as the impetus for ongoing reflective practice and discussion among teaching team members in ECE communities. Continue reading

Clothing Rituals: Moving from Season to Season

Does your child have difficulty with change of clothing between seasons e.g. moving from shoes to boots, long sleeves to short, coat to just a tee shirt?  This can be a common characteristic in children with Autism and those with sensory processing difficulties. It can be the result of tactile sensitivity; the child is particular about the clothes he wears, finds tags and seams itchy or irritating, may not like having his sleeves pushed up, and likes only loose or tight clothing, socks and shoes or bare feet. Some children have difficulty tolerating touch to their skin and find that they can only tolerate certain clothing. It may also be the result of an intolerance to change in routine, transitions, or type of clothing. Some children are rigid and ritualistic because their world is confusing and overwhelming. The rituals and routines are their attempts to control their world in order to cope with it. Continue reading

Inclusion — A Cause for Celebration!

2016 marks the completion of the 25th anniversary of Children’s Integration Support Services (CISS). We were not given a road map when our journey for a seamless system of supported inclusion began. As we travelled down the inclusion road, we learnt that change is inevitable and it is up to each of us to grow with each lesson learned. We also understood that it was alright to ask for directions. Our story began with a road trip to the Region of Durham to seek information and ideas from others who had already started their inclusion journey.  Believe it or not, “Google Maps” had not yet been invented so it became a leap of faith, knowing that we all believed in and were committed to a path where full inclusion was possible by working towards supporting the needs of each child, their parents and the early childhood educators and providers.  The inclusion pioneers who had bravely gone before us shared all of their lessons learned on how they achieved their success as well as sharing what roads for us not to go down. We had a strong belief in a vision where ALL children belong.  We knew our journey was going to be positive and possible. Continue reading

A Leading Force of Inclusion

Wordle South TeamIn 1991 when Children’s Integration Support Services was formed, a unique role was created to support licensed child care programs with the integration of children with special needs. That role was then known as Integration Advisor.

The Integration Advisor’s primary role was to demonstrate to programs that a child is a child first, and that a child with a special need can integrate well into a community program when there is a strong partnership between the family, program, and community partners. Today Integration Advisors are known in the community as Resource Consultants.  Continue reading

Diversity at Mealtimes

An intricate part of the Ontario Ministry of Education pedagogy: How Does Learning Happen? (HDLH) highlights the importance of building relationships with children and families. Vanier Co-operative School-age Program has found a way to embed the four foundational conditions of HDLH “Belonging, Well Being, Engagement and Expression” through their enrollment process as it relates to the inclusion of diversity at mealtimes.

The foundation of engagement is reflected during the enrollment process which engages families, children and educators to build relationships that support the child within the context of his or her families’ culture and diversity. As part of the enrollment process, a food survey is conducted with the parents, as they know, their child best. The child’s top 3 favourites from each food groups are highlighted as well as food allergies, restrictions, intolerances and special dietary information.   Continue reading