This past winter, we were fortunate to work with the University of Regina and the Ministry of Education to participate in a “Play and Exploration” mentorship program. “What is Play and Exploration?” you might ask. Play and Exploration is an amazing early learning type of curriculum that was originally developed in 2008 in our province. It is a program that focuses on early learning programs that are “holistic, responsive, and developmentally appropriate. They focus on the development of the whole child…” (Early Learning Program Guide, pg. 4). We are so thrilled that we have started the journey to turn our center into a welcoming, nurturing and educational environment for all the children we have enrolled with us. (To read more about the Play and Exploration guide, please click here).
We spent five intensive months working on improving our environment, our programs and ourselves. I am so incredibly proud of all of the hard work that our staff put into this program. We saw so much growth and positive change, and it has affected all that we do in a really neat way. Our days have a more relaxed flow to them, and we have seen a significant decrease in difficult behaviors. There have been so many new experiences offered to our children. With our toddler group, we began to introduce more sensory based activities, so that the children could learn more about their world in a very tangible and real way. With our preschool children, we have focused more on finding what the children are interested in and planning our days based around that. With our school age group we have been working on the same type of programming, but have added so much to our environment and have really been working on social skill and relationship development.
We updated most of our older or outdated furniture and equipment and have been able to set up new play centers to draw the children in. We have worked to provide areas where the children can work on building strong relationships with our staff and with each other. We have the ability to care for the children until they are in Grade 6, and many of the relationships that they form in our center will be relationships that they maintain throughout elementary school.
We believe that this initiative has given us a great foundation to build on as we focus on continuing to improve our center over the next several years. Our programs have become more centered on what the children are interested while still providing the educational basics that will serve them well throughout their lives. We are not perfect, nor are we done growing! We would be happy to show our families or potential families around for a tour at any time to talk about the program and how it has changed us for the better. Please contact Cara in the office at 306-949-6684 to set that up or ask any other questions.