Oak Park promotes the health, safety, nutrition and well-being of the children.
Oak Park cultivates authentic, caring relationships and connections to create a sense of belonging among and between children, adults, and the world around them. We are attuned to each child’s physical and emotional state and respond in a warm and sensitive manner. We connect with each child and recognize his or her uniqueness. Oak Park nurtures children’s healthy development and support their growing sense of self. Oak Park provides opportunities to practice self-help and self-care skills, and provides a safe and stimulating outdoor environment for active play that supports and challenges children’s abilities for a minimum of two hours a day. In the case of poor weather we provide 2 hours of active play indoors. Oak Park provides opportunities for the children to connect to nature. We provide optimal nutrition for children that include family and cultural preferences. We create a positive eating environment and follow children’s cues of hunger and fullness.
Oak Park supports positive and responsive interactions among the children, parents, child care providers and staff.
Oak Park maintains strong, respectful and reciprocal relationships with children and with families, including them in discussions and taking time to make daily connections with them in person or by other means such as notes, communications books or bulletin boards. We ensure the children’s interactions with their peers are positive and responsive by role modeling and aiding when necessary. We engage in authentic, reciprocal communication with children where children participate as both initiators and equal partners. We help children to listen to others and to express themselves to others. Language and literacy-related activities and materials are included in all daily routines. Oak Park supports relationships between children as they initiate, respond, collaborate, celebrate and demonstrate care of others. All interactions at Oak Park whether between staff, between children and staff, between staff and parents and between children are positive and responsive.
Oak Park encourages the children to interact and communicate in a positive way and supports their ability to self-regulate.
Oak Park encourages the children to have interactions with each other and the staff that are positive. We help children communicate by helping them to listen to and express themselves to one another. We encourage conversation among children and act as a coach to help the child find the right words and approach. The ability to self-regulate is very important to a child’s development. Self-regulation is about how a child is able to deal effectively with stress and then recover. Oak Park supports self-regulation by providing environments that reduce stress while recognizing and supporting children’s efforts and increasing ability to self-regulate. We also support children’s developing ability to self-regulate by being responsive and attuned to children’s individual cues, arousal states, and responses to different kinds of stress. Finally we help children to learn strategies for becoming or staying calm and focused by enabling them to recognize and modulate their emotional states and impulse and become more aware of the effect of their action on others.
Oak Park fosters the children’s exploration, play and inquiry.
Oak Park creates environments both indoor and outdoor that spark curiosity, invite investigation, and provide challenges for the children to extend their learning. We provide interesting objects and open-ended materials for the children to explore with their senses, manipulate and investigate. Play materials are available and accessible throughout the day and allow children to make choices, encourage exploration, play and inquiry and support their learning and development. We ensure that the environment and experiences we provide promote play and inquiry that help children discover and develop an awareness and understanding of concepts, including literacy and numeracy. Educators participate with children as a co-investigator, co-learner, and co-planner . Finally we document children’s thinking, learning and competence and make it visible to children, families, and others by posting it on walls, and in binders.
Oak Park provides child-initiated and adult-supported experiences.
Oak Park values children’s ideas and contributions to our program. We are attuned to what children know, what they wonder about and their understanding of the world around them. We follow the children’s lead in play by closely observing, engaging and listening to them to determine where their interests lie. When an area of interest is found we support this interest by questioning, exploring, and learning about the interest together as partners in learning. We support the children’s interests and expand on their play and learn together with them to construct knowledge.
Oak Park plans for and creates positive learning environments and experiences in which each child’s learning and development will be supported.
Oak Park uses the environment as another educator by providing an environment that engages children in active, creative and meaningful exploration, play, and inquiry. We provide environments that are full of interesting, open-ended materials that can be used in many ways thus inviting investigation and complex play. We connect with families and communities in order to reflect environments and experiences that are relevant to the children’s lives. We explore the environment together with the children and support all children in their development and learning by interacting with them in the environment.
Oak Park incorporates indoor and outdoor play, as well as active play, rest and quiet time, into the day, and gives consideration to the individual needs of the children
Children at Oak Park have a very balanced day. Oak Park takes the individual needs of the children into account and therefore provides a lot of choice throughout the day. Children engage in outdoor play for a minimum of 1 hour in the morning and a minimum of another hour in the afternoon. Play outdoors is primarily compromised by active play; however there is also a possibility for less active play in the sandbox and exploring nature. Inside time also has a mixture of active play and quiet play. The children are free to choose what area of the room they would like to play in as all areas are open to them. After lunch each child is given a maximum of two hours to rest or engage in quiet activities based on the needs of each child.
Oak Park fosters the engagement of and ongoing communication with parents about the program and their children.
Parents are experts on their children and bring diverse social, cultural, and linguistic perspectives. We form partnerships with parents as each family has unique knowledge, experiences, and strengths. Oak Park values parents and maintains ongoing communication with them about both the program and their children. Staff has the opportunity to speak to parents at both drop off and pick up times each day. All educators use a communication book daily as a way of sharing information with parents and receiving information from them. Any parent who would like to meet with a staff member regarding their child is welcome to arrange a meeting. We post documentation of children’s learning on walls and in binders for the parents to look at. Staff posts monthly calendars on Oak Park’s website for parents to view. Oak Park has two General Meetings a year where parents meet the Parent Board of Directors and are free to contribute ideas, and chat with the staff. In addition to these two Meetings all parents attend an annual Holiday Social in December and a BBQ in the spring or fall. Staff welcomes parents to participate in our program by sharing a part of their culture or life with us. Parents have brought in a family pet for a short visit or spoken about their jobs, or shared a traditional dance with the children.
Oak Park involves local community partners and allows those partners to support the children, their families and staff
Oak Park has a relationship with various community partners such as the London Middlesex Health Unit, Thames Valley Children’s Centre, Tyke Talk, and All Kids Belong. These agencies support staff, children and families at Oak Park when needed. A representative from All Kids Belong is always available to come and support staff when they need suggestions, resources, professional development and information. All Kids Belong also supports children and their families by meeting with them to discuss issues and helping them to access resources and completing assessments.
Oak Park supports staff or others who interact with the children to access professional development.
Oak Park pays for professional development two times annually be it at the Centre or through an outside agency, or arranges professional learning by having staffs spend the equivalent amount of time visiting a program to learn from other RECE’S in our field. In addition to this, Oak Park arranges and pays for First Aid/CPR renewal every three years, to be held at Oak Park.
Oak Park documents and reviews the impact of all the strategies listed above on the children and their families
Oak Park implements Oak Park’s Program Statement and observes the impact of our Program Statement on the children and the parents. The Director documents how Oak Park’s Program Statement is being implemented by the staff during formal monthly observations and by casual observations done on an ongoing basis. During Staff Meetings there is discussion about the impact of all the above strategies . A The Director or Supervisor documents the impacts that have been observed by the staff and together we review the impact these strategies have on our children and their families. During these meetings, staff also discusses how we can improve any areas of our program. Particular attention is paid to review and reflect on approaches that will be implemented in the program to encourage the children to interact and communicate in a positive way and support their ability to self-regulate.