Main room is our largest indoor play space in the centre. It has large windows that provides the children access to look outside, as well as provides lots of natural light. It is set up to have several different curriculum areas—art, block, pretend play, science, puzzles, and a library—where the children are free to come and go. We provide the children ample amounts of resources for their play, both for free play and structured activities. There are number of loose parts boxes and board games that the children can access at anytime.
The main room children—our older preschoolers aged 3 to 5—have circle time in this room. We sing songs and read stories. The children then split into their assigned groups with peers of the same age and do some group time activities with their primary caregivers. We implement an emergent curriculum; curriculum that is based on the children’s interests.
Main room is equipped with its own kitchen. It has a sink, stove, and two microwaves. Snack preparation is done in this kitchen. There is also a sanitizing commercial dishwasher where the dishes are washed and sanitized after each meal. Our washing machine and dryer are also installed in the kitchen. Main room is also equipped with its own bathroom. It has four child-leveled sinks and toilets, a change table, and two potties. We collaborate with families who have children who are potty training and encourage them to use the potty and/or toilet. Our child-friendly bathroom promotes self-help skills and allows children to be independent while an educator supervises.
Main room has an observation booth that is equipped with a two-way mirror. Parents are encouraged to come watch their children when they are able. Our observation booth is accessible with the same swipe card used to enter the centre. Our Centre is used as an educational resource for RRC Polytech’s Early Childhood Education students, and our observation booths are also open for the students—with permission from the Centre—to observe children in play as part of their studies as they complete the ECE program.
Middle room, despite being the smallest play space is the centre, is also known as our large muscle room. Here the children are provided with equipment like big blocks for building and log stools for climbing. The children get to build forts and have dance parties. There is also an area for some quieter play where the children are provided with smaller blocks and books for reading. There is a chalkboard for children to draw on for some creative play.
Middle room transforms into a cozy nap room for our 3-to-4-year old’s who require an afternoon nap. Each child is provided with their own cot, and it is placed in the same spot everyday to help build routine. Children are free to bring their own blankets and stuffies, but the Centre can provide blankets for those who need. Calm nap music is played throughout the duration of the nap period which lasts about two hours between 12:30pm to 2:30pm. Nap sheets are laundered each week.
We have four toddler (18-24-month-old) children and twelve 2-year-olds in far room. Here we provide a warm, nurturing environment, and have different curriculum areas for the children to explore. We provide our “littles”, as we call them, several sensory activities like water play, messy art and finger painting, boxes of loose parts. We provide them with a loving and safe play environment that allows them to stay engaged and become active learners. We have a dramatic/play kitchen, developmentally appropriate puzzles and books, blocks and cars, and an art area full of supplies.
The far room children have lunch and nap in this room. This room is equipped with child-level tables and chairs for lunch time. The play area is transformed into the nap area. Once children are done with their lunch, staff guide them to clean up in the bathroom and they get settled in their own bed with their blankets and/or stuffies. These are laundered each week.
Far room has their own kitchen that is equipped with a fridge, sink, and a microwave. It also has its own bathroom with two child-sized toilets, one change table, one potty, and two child-level sinks. We collaborate with the families who are potty training their children at home and encourage those children to use the toilet. Our child-friendly bathroom allows children to practice their self-help skills and promote independence while an educator is there to help as needed.
Lastly, far room also has its own observation booth where parents are encouraged to come watch their child when they are able. It is accessible through the same swipe card used to enter the centre.
Outdoor Learning Program
RRC Early Childhood Centre values outdoor play. We spend as much time outdoors as possible, weather permitting. Our outdoor play space has a handwashing station for children and educators to use. Our space has a garden that we plant vegetables in in the summer which the children take part in caring for. There is a gazebo, a house area, and trees for the children to climb on. We have three sheds for storage—one for summer equipment, one for winter equipment, and one for our larger play equipment like our tricycles and scooters, as well as, for storage of our garden supplies.
In the summer, we spend most of our days outdoors and provide the children ample free play time to explore the outdoor play space. We plan outdoor days where we do everything outdoors—including lunch and nap. We encourage the children to engage in risky play. The children always have access to water for water/sensory play. There is a large sand pit and ample sand toys for the children. There is always access to lots of natural materials, art supplies, and books for some quiet time.
In the winter, our yard is transformed into a winter wonderland where our hills are fully utilized with the children having full access to sleds and toboggans. We provide equipment for the children to use in the winter like shovels and buckets and provide numerous winter sensory activities like snow painting and creating ice experiments.
We are privileged to be a part of RRC Polytech’s community as they provide us access to take our children for walks outdoors and explore the college’s outdoor space. We have access to take the children to the courtyard, as well as The Medicine Wheel Garden.
Summer School Age Program
During the summer months of July and August, we run a Summer School Age Program. Majority of the children who attend this program are children who have aged out of our preschool program; however, the school age program is open to all children 6 to 12 years of age. Our Early Childhood Educators take turns running the program and provide age-appropriate activities, field trips, and, like the preschoolers, spend majority of their days outdoors. The program is located on the same campus and building as the Child Care Centre but is in a different room. RRC Polytech’s ECE program graciously provides us access to their ECE lab to implement our summer program. It contains different play areas—art, big blocks, puzzles and games, science, pretend play, and a library. The school agers have access to our Centre’s outdoor space that the preschoolers use, and all children can interact and play with each other outdoors.