The early years are the most critical time with regards to the emergence and development of the individuality, character and learning style of young children. We are committed to providing a safe, nurturing, inclusive and stimulating environment for all children to learn, grow, explore and most of all, HAVE FUN!
MLDC offers a learning environment and programs that are consistent with the Ministry of Education policies, pedagogy, and curriculum guidelines as outlined in the following documents:
- How Does Learning Happen? Ontario’s Pedagogy for the Early Years
- Ontario Early Years Framework
- Ontario Early Learning Framework
- Think Feel Act: Lessons from Research About Young Children
- Early Learning for Every Child Today (ELECT)
Recognizing the individual
Also aligned with Ontario’s Pedagogy for the Early Years document, “How Does Learning Happen”, the children are viewed as competent, capable of complex thinking, curious, and rich in potential. Learning and development happen within the context of relationships among children, families, educators and their environments and are organized around the foundations of belonging, well-being, engagement and expression. In order for children to be able to develop, grow and flourish to their optimal and full potential, our goals for the children include that each and every child:
- has a sense of belonging and connectivity to others; are valued and able to contribute to all aspects of their world, including within individual or group relationships, the community and the natural world;
- is developing a sense of self, physical and mental health and well-being, incorporating capacities such as self-care, sense of self, and self-regulation skills;
- is an active and fully engaged learner who is able and encouraged to explore the world around them with their natural curiosity and exuberance, to promote development of skills such as problem solving, and creative and innovative thinking; and
- is provided with opportunities that support and foster the many ways in which each child may express themselves and communicate (to be heard as well as to listen), and the many ‘voices’ with which they may choose to articulate their ideas, and the variety of ‘languages they may use to communicate will be encouraged, fostered, and supported.
Community and parent involvement
We honour and respect all children’s beliefs, culture, language, and experiences acquired from their family and community. We believe that children benefit from respectful and meaningful relationships between childhood settings, families and communities. We recognize that families are the first and most powerful influence on children’s development and learning, and that their involvement through communication, volunteering, collaboration and decision-making has positive outcomes and strengthen communities. We encourage parents’ involvement in creating an environment that welcomes families, values their perspectives and provides opportunities to participate in our programs in the most comfortable and meaningful ways.
Our staff promotes and nurtures children’s health and well-being. We provide programs to support our holistic approach to child development, including sports, dramatic and art, self-help skills and individual program plans set up in a healthy, safe and clean environment. We provide nutritious food and beverages, a creative positive eating environment and respect and support children’s varied physiological and biological rhythms for active play, rest and quiet time.
We believe that children are competent, capable and curious and have great potential. We encourage children but do not forced them to participate in activities that are planned based on observations of their interests. Our curriculum covers all equally important areas of child’s development: physical (gross and fine motor), social (awareness, respect, ability to share and cooperate), communication (verbal and non-verbal), self-esteem (self-awareness and positive self-image), and cognitive (comprehension, problem solving and skill acquisition).
Our practice is documented in a variety of ways: children’s portfolios, documentation panels and displays, written notes, collections of samples and newsletters. We value and recognize it as a way of reinforcement of the learning process, reflective action and method of comparing and sharing ideas and results as well as demonstrating and sharing evidence of development and learning with parents and others.
We support children’s ability to self-regulate, with the goal of this support being that children feel comfortable and confident with the learning environment. As responsive educators we help children to learn strategies to recognize their emotions and impulses, become or stay calm and focused, be aware of the effects of their actions, deal effectively with stressors and recover as opposed to self-control and suppressing emotions.
Our programs focus on active play based learning. Play allows them to actively construct, challenge and expand understandings through making connections to prior experiences and opening the door to new learning. Intentional play based learning allows children to investigate, ask questions, solve problems, and engage in critical thinking. It encourages children’s communication, self-expression and self-regulation. We help children to deal with stress, remain calm, alert and ready to learn. We foster communication and expression in all forms believing that every child is a capable, competent and rich in potential unique individual.