St. Hilary’s Community Care Centre Inc. operates a quality, non-profit Day Care Centre providing a warm and loving environment for children three months to five years of age.
Our program enables children to develop physically, mentally, socially and emotionally while engaging their families in a meaningful way in day to day activities. We as a team strive to make children feel competent and capable and encourage their curiosities because we believe that they are rich in potential. The program’s design stimulates their eagerness to explore, provides flexibility to allow each child to reach his/her potential and provides a loving environment where he/she finds security and a sense of self worth.
We agree with Ontario’s Pedagogy for Early Years and believe that the four foundations to ensure optimal learning are:
Every child has a sense of belonging when he or she is connected to others and contributes to their world.
Every child is developing a sense of self, health, and well-being.
Every child is an active and engaged learner who explores the world with body, mind, and senses.
Every child is a capable communicator who expresses himself or herself in many ways.
Keeping in mind the above four foundations of learning, we at St. Hilary’s believe in the emergent curriculum. This is a way of planning the curriculum in response to children’s interests thus creating meaningful learning experiences. Our educators, plan activities and projects to match the skills, interests and unique needs of the children. This requires an understanding of individual children as well as the group as a whole.
In order to ensure an in depth understanding of every child and in order to provide a guide for our curriculum we at St. Hilary’s use ministry recommended documents such as, ELECT (Early Learning for Every Child Today) and Think Feel Act: Lessons from Research about Young Children. The New Child Care and Early Years Act, forms a firm base on which we rely in order to provide superior service to children, families and the community at large.
A typical day at St. Hilary’s consists of POSITIVE INTERACTIONS, between staff and families. At drop off, parents are encouraged to come into the classroom and spend some time depending on their child’s needs, whether it is to share or exchange information with staff or even if it is to give their child an extra long hug before they go to work. Throughout the day, children are encouraged to explore their surroundings and freely use materials provided in an imaginative yet, appropriate manner. They are encouraged to be independent in routines such as dressing, toileting, washing, eating, and tidying up their playthings, all while making sure they know they can turn to a caring adult for help if required. At lunch they are given the opportunity to serve themselves, pour their drinks, feed themselves and scrape their plates, keeping age appropriateness in mind. Our lunch setting is family style, where children and adults eat together and share information; you never know when a teachable moment arises. Responsible adults are always available within appropriate ratios based on age grouping at all times.
All staff and students are to use behaviour guidance strategies that support children to develop appropriate social and emotional skills and comply with St. Hilary’s Day Care Centre’s Program Statement. St. Hilary’s Day Care and The Child Care and Early Years Act prohibit the following practices:
a) corporal punishment of a child;
b) physical restraint of a child, such as confining the child to a high chair, car seat, stroller or other device for the purposes of discipline or in lieu of supervision, unless the physical restraint is for the purpose of preventing a child from hurting himself, herself or someone else, and is used only as a last resort and only until the risk of injury is no longer imminent
c) locking the exits of the child care centre or home child care premises for the purpose of confining a child, or confining the child in an area or room without adult supervision, unless such confinement occurs during an emergency and is required as part of the licensee’s emergency management policies and procedures;
d) use of harsh or degrading measures or threats or use of derogatory language directed at or used in the presence of a child that would humiliate, shame or frighten the child or undermine his or her self-respect, dignity or self-worth;
e) Depriving the child of basic needs including food, drink, shelter, sleep, toilet use, clothing or bedding;
f) Inflicting any bodily harm on children including making children eat or drink against their will
Any staff member who does not adhere to the Prohibited Practices Policy will be subject to discipline and or dismissal from the Centre.
We work very hard to encourage children to express their feelings through words rather than actions. Guidance is always directed at a child’s action or behaviour, never at the personality of the child, thus helping to preserve and maintain a child’s positive self-concept. Our staff makes sure guidelines for acceptable behaviour are clearly outlined to all children and the consequences of an indiscretion are clearly explained. Children are taught to respect and care for the physical environment, other’s belongings and other material items. All staff is instructed to focus and reinforce positive behavior and promote self regulation. We believe that as children learn how to remain and return to a state of calm in stressful situations, they are best able to control their emotions, pay attention, ignore distractions and understand the consequences of their actions.
We work very hard to exceed all health and safety requirements of the Ministry of Education and local government and child care bylaws. Health and safety checks of our premises (indoor & outdoor) are conducted regularly.
Our Centre implements a strict policy concerning illness to ensure the well being of all children and staff alike. Our objective is to ascertain that each child exhibiting symptoms of ill health receives the required medical attention, as well as preventing the spread of illness to other children in the day care centre.
St. Hilary’s Day Care pays close attention to anaphylaxis and allergies and we have in place a strategy to reduce the risk of exposure to anaphylactic agents. We do not permit any outside food coming in unless it is in the Infant Room. The Day Care purchases and orders all foods being served to the children. We also provide substitutes for food allergies and or restrictions. Ours is a nut free environment and we do not allow nuts or peanuts on the premises.
Nutrition And Well-Being
The Centre provides a nutritious mid-day meal, morning and afternoon snack. Our Menu is based on Canada’s Food Guide and all the food is prepared on site, with fresh ingredients by our full time cook.
We provide food, homo milk, and water for infants who eat table food, and are able to drink from a cup. Those infants drinking out of a bottle or eating jarred food have meals provided by their parents in clearly marked containers/bottles with their child’s name and contents. Homogenized milk is served to infants and toddlers and 2% milk for preschoolers.
We believe resting is very important as part of a balanced curriculum. Infants rest according to their needs, while the other age groups rest in the afternoon or are allowed quiet time according to their needs. This is usually a two hour period post lunch.
Gross Motor Activities
As required by the ministry we at St. Hilary’s stick to the guideline that every child be taken out-of doors for two hours each day through-out the year, except during inclement weather. Exposure to the open air is a powerful remedy against long-term or recurrent infections, also a time when a child has the opportunity to improve his/her gross motor skills that are a very important part of a child’s development. All children are encouraged to participate in the entire outdoor/gross motor program.
Indoor / Gym Play
It is during inclement weather that we feel very lucky to have a large indoor space that we use as a gym. The staff, along with management, have devised a schedule allowing every age group to have sufficient time in the gym on days when the weather is bad. Teachers make sure to set up the gym with a variety of gross motor toys and activities that will engage the children and keep motivate them to participate.
Our beautiful playground is divided into two large sections allowing older and younger age groups to have their own space to play safely. The Preschoolers share their play space with 4 or 5 senior toddlers (depending on age appropriateness) while the rest of the Senior Toddlers share the other space with younger toddlers. The infants use the playground as well as go on walks in triple strollers. Each of the playgrounds have varied terrain, climbers and sandboxes allowing for a range of movement and gross motor exposure. In addition to this teachers plan the outdoor curriculum based on observations and put out toys for the children to play with based on their interest.
We have a separate selection of indoor and outdoor toys that we circulate from time to time based on children’s interests. We also follow safety and cleaning checklists for both indoor and outdoor play areas and the toys that we take very seriously.
Communication with Parents /Parental Involvement
St. Hilary’s encourages and practices open communication with all our families. We believe that families are the experts on their children and therefore we try to foster engagement and communication with them about our program and their child’s learning experiences.
Daily experience sheets: are shared with parents explaining each child’s learning experiences, meals, naps and other individualized information
Observations based on ELECT (Early Learning for Every Child Today): Staff in each class post observations on children in the developmental domains such as Social, Emotional, Cognitive, Gross Motor, Fine Motor, Language and Communication.
Monthly newsletters: are compiled by the staff in each class in order to share relevant information and reminders.
Management newsletters: are also shared on a regular basis in order to keep families informed of improvements, changes or any kind of updates from the board and staff.
Parent Communication Boards: are present in each classroom and are updated with information on a daily basis as well as having important policies and health notices posted.
Cubby Communication boards: are used for reminders on daily or weekly activities
Entryway Communication board and information centre: Families can also find information about community programs, fundraising activities and other informative flyers in the entryway passage into the daycare.
Social media: For families that engage in social media we also post pictures of learning experiences and other information on our Facebook and Instagram pages.
In addition to all of the above visual communication, we at St. Hilary’s take great pleasure in daily verbal communication with parents and caretakers. We encourage families to enter the classrooms during drop off and pick up to interact with us and share information that will not only helps us to best meet the needs of the children, but also helps us to improve our entire program and services.
Involving Local Community Partners
“It takes a Village to raise a child” is something we at St. Hilary’s strongly believe in. Keeping this in mind we make sure we plan various activities and events throughout our curriculum to safely expose our children to different people and learning experiences in the community.
Volunteers and Students:
We welcome volunteers and students on placements at our centre. We believe that we have as much to learn from us as they do from us. Although they are treated as staff they are not counted in our daily staff to child ratios. These volunteers and students augment the high-quality care and individual attention given to the children in our programs
As part of the curriculum, we offer a French program to our preschoolers and five oldest toddlers, 3 times a year. Our French teacher comes in weekly and takes thirty minute interactive sessions with each batch. This exposes our little learners to one of our national languages at an early age.
Since its introduction at St. Hilary’s in 2014, this interactive and physically encouraging program (previously known as Monkeynastix) has been a super hit with the children. Each week the Funkey Kids’ instructor plans gross motor activities focused on conditioning various parts of the body. This program not only has gross motor benefits but teaches social and emotional skills like self regulation (waiting your turn) The children are exposed to a well-structured session which begins with a fun warm up song, followed by stretching positions and exercises using child safe specialized equipment. At the end of each class children receive a participation stamp which somehow brings even more excitement to the program. Children leave Funkey Kids program feeling happy, confident and energized!
“Move Your Body” Program:
This program incorporates music and movement in a fun and interactive way. The children enjoy using a variety of props to enhance this biweekly 30 minute creative program.
Peel Inclusion Resource Services (PIRS):
We have a dedicated resource person assigned to our centre who assists and guides families and staff on how to work with children with special needs. This community helper supports families through home visits and communicates with staff to provide each child with specific and specialized care according to each child’s needs.
We take great pride in our fundraising activities at St. Hilary’s. We have a dedicated team of parents and a staff member who make up our very resourceful “Fundraising Team”. Annually this team welcomes summer by organizing “Funapalooza” a wonderful community fair with food, games and vendor stalls. This allows our families and staff to mingle and raise money for a good cause. It also allows families in the community to visit our centre and get to know our staff and programs. We also organize Mom4Mom sales twice a year (spring and fall), and Bake Sales especially during the winter festive season.
Our staff takes great interest in planning field trips for our preschoolers and toddlers. Each year during our staff meeting we brain storm and try and come up with new and exciting ideas to expose children and families to new experiences. Over the years some of our excursions have included visiting farms to go pumpkin picking; fun water play at local splash pads, visiting local/neighbourhood stores, visiting a dentist’s office and more.
Food Donation Drive:
Every year in order to raise social consciousness among the children and families we organize food donation drives either to the local Fire station or to St. Hilary’s Church food bank. We are proud to say that the children and families respond with great enthusiasm.
All of these community activities generate a lot of interest among the children and peaks their curiosity on various topics. We use their interest and questions on various topics to further our collective learning experiences and plan more interesting activities.
Continuous Professional Learning
St. Hilary’s is dedicated to maintaining skilled and experienced staff at the centre. All our staff members are either Registered Early Childhood Educators (RECE’s) or have many years of experience working in the field of child care.
In order to ensure the centre and the staff stay up to date with child care best practices, we have signed up to be active members of “Raising the Bar in Peel” a voluntary community standards program for early learning and child care programs in Peel. This program makes certain that we at St. Hilary’s commit to additional professional education each year. Our staff regularly attends workshops and professional development courses on various topics throughout the year. In addition, we make sure to keep our First aid and CPR certification current. Our cook and kitchen staff keeps their Food Handlers’ Certificate up to date by attending annual training workshops as well. Not just teaching and kitchen staff but management staff attend workshops and conferences to enhance their understanding of early childhood education and care.
The Centre also provides a level of remuneration, benefits, and atmosphere to attract, encourage and keep a dedicated and qualified staff.
All of the above information is presented in detail in our policies provided in our staff and parent handbook.
Each of our policies are reviewed annually by staff and signed off by a supervisor. This serves as a refresher for all at the centre and keeps us up to date on expectations and best practices.