As you may know, Thistleoaks Child Care Centre is a participant in the Quality First program, which is a quality initiative for child care centres throughout the Halton Region. As a centre, we have made a commitment to quality, and as a mandate, we strive to be leaders in quality. Being a leader in quality requires great reflection on our programs and our collective skills as educators, administrators, and directors. As part of the Quality First program, we use the Early Childhood Environment Rating Scale, Infant Toddler Environment Rating Scale, School Age Care Environment Rating Scale, Caregiver Interaction Scale, and the Quality Inclusion Rating Scale to assess our programs. Quality can be visible in so many areas, but one of those areas is in PARENTS AS PARTNERS. There are many ways that parents can contribute to the overall quality of the centre, and subsequently our quality ratings:
DONATIONS – There are many items that the centre is always in need of, such as:
indoor and outdoor active play equipment
clothing and accessories for pretend play
furniture that is no longer needed at home but that could be useful in the classrooms (art easel, small side tables, comfortable seating (large cushions, child-size couches, etc.)
These things help us to add to our classroom environments and use the environment as a third teacher!
PERSONAL ITEMS AND EXPERIENCES - Add to the classroom program with photos of your family and items and materials that are representative of your family and culture to help us promote inclusion and diversity. Talk about your experiences and things that are important to you and your family, and offer ways to further enhance the sense of belonging that we strive to achieve for every child, parent, and educator.
ENGAGEMENT - Check in with your child’s educators about what the children are currently learning, show interest, and extend that learning through conversations at home with your child and family. Show interest in the pedagogical documentation that has been created by the educators to showcase children’s development and activity. Have conversations with your child while referring to some of the documentation and displays that are within and surrounding the room. This enables meaningful dialogue, supports language, literacy, and communication skills, and creates a bridge for you to have developmental discussions with our educators, and for our educators to reflect upon the documentation with the children, thus adding to the quality of interactions between educator and child.
As an example, the picture below was taken of our Willow classroom out for a nature walk in the community. The children showed an interest in the mailbox, and this began a discussion in the room around the mail. We have since been exploring letters, putting letters in mailbox, and learning about mail carriers. We encourage parents to continue these themes at home - for example, taking their children with them to get the mail, allowing them to open and close the box, and to retrieve the mail from inside.
Willow children exploring neighbourhood mailboxes.
ROLE MODELING - Be a role model for good hygiene practices, healthy eating, and active living. Encourage your child to do the same at home so it becomes part of their regular everyday living. This enables those good practices to continue at Thistleoaks, and your child can be a positive role model for others.
EMPOWERMENT – All children are competent, capable of complex thinking, curious, and rich in potential and experience! Encourage your child to practice self-help skills and participate in daily chores and routines (for example, setting or clearing the table, making their bed, etc.). Allow your child to make choices and take some risks in his/her daily activity, but have conversations about safety and natural consequences that will help support his/her ability to assess the choice or risk and to problem-solve.
Just a few additional reminders and notes for Parents:
CHILDCAREPRO CORRESPONDENCE - Monthly invoices and payment receipts, and other communication is now being sent to parents via email. These emails will come from the email address firstname.lastname@example.org. Please be sure to check your junk email folder and/or email settings to ensure that you receive these emails with important information and updates. If you are not receiving these, or you wish to update your email address, please contact me and I can make the adjustments - my email is email@example.com.
FEE SCHEDULE 2020 - Parents recently received a letter outlining the changes in fees and payments for January 2020, as well as a copy of the policy and rates. If you have not done so already, please return the portion that requires your signature. It is important that we receive this from every family.
EMERGENCY CARDS UPDATING – Please review your child’s Emergency Card to ensure it’s updated with the most current information. If changes need to be made, please let me or the educators know and we will ensure it gets updated.
MEDIA RELEASE FORMS - There are a number of outstanding Media Release Consent Forms. If you have not done so already, please complete, sign, and return the form to the main office or your child's classroom.