Our Program Statement

McMaster Children’s Centre Program Statement:

Mission Statement

McMaster Children’s Centre is a not for profit corporation which strives to provide the optimum of childcare, meeting or exceeding all licensing regulations. We provide a safe and caring environment for children 18 months to 5 years old.

Program Statement

McMaster Children’s Centre is licensed by the Ministry of Education under the Child Care and Early Years Act (CCEYA).  Our Teachers are all trained Registered Early Childhood Educators (R.E.C.E.), members of the College of Early Childhood Educators, who continue to engage in Professional Activities to upgrade their training and education.  All employees, volunteers and students require a Police Clearance Check with Vulnerable Sector prior to interacting with the children in our care.


At McMaster Children’s Centre, we view the child as competent, capable, curious and rich in potential.  We engage in child initiated, Teacher supported play based learning and use the guidelines of the How Does Learning Happen? Ontario’s Pedagogy for the Early Years Document (2014).  The four foundations of this document, which McMaster Children’s Centre agree with and practice in our program, are Belonging, Well-Being, Engagement and Expression.  There are copies of this document available in the office if you would like to read it, or online at:   http://www.edu.gov.on.ca/childcare/pedagogy.html

McMaster Children’s Centre has an open door policy with Parents.  We work to foster a positive relationship with the Parents to build a bridge between home and daycare.  Through phone calls, notes, emails, documentation and Parent/Teacher meetings Teachers will keep the Parents abreast of their child’s activities and development.

Children at McMaster Children’s Centre will have many and varied opportunities to reach their full developmental potential.  We promote health, safety, nutrition, safety and well-being in our children.  Through exploration of the children’s interests, Teachers will provide both active and quiet activities that will create a positive environment that will stimulate all areas of the children’s development while meeting the needs of each individual.

McMaster Children’s Centre has set our goals for the children to be consistent with the Ministry of Education pedagogy that reflects the view of children as competent, capable, curious and rich in potential.  Our view of the child is as follows:

  • Every child has a sense of belonging when he or she is connected to others and contributes to their world.
  • Every child is developing a sense of self, health, and well-being.
  • Every child is an active and engaged learner who explores the world with body, mind, and senses.
  • Every child is a capable communicator who expresses himself/herself in many ways.

Goals and Approaches To Meet Our Program Statement

McMaster Children’s Centre will promote Health, safety, nutrition and well-being of the children. 

All permanent Classroom Teachers will be Registered Early Childhood Educators (R.E.C.E.) licensed by the College of Early Childhood Educators.  All Staff will be trained in health and safety protocols. Staff supervise the children at all times. The Centre observes and follows the Ministry of Health and Safety guidelines and hold evacuation and fire drills on a monthly basis.  We have a safe shelter location at the Campus Services Building in the event an evacuation is required.  Parents may pick their child up there after attendance has been taken and are asked not to go to McMaster Children’s Centre once notified that an evacuation has taken place.

All Staff will be trained in standard first aid, including Infant and Child CPR (upon hire and prior to expiry) and the use of Epi-Pens.  McMaster Children’s Centre will collect information from each Staff member and child, including documentation of immunization.  Teachers will review all information regarding a child before said child starts in their class room (especially noting allergies, diet and Parental preferences).  The health of each child is documented on a daily and monthly basis including documentation of immunization.  Any child who is sick must be 24 hours fever, vomit and diarrhea free before returning to daycare.  Our medication policy requires that medication be kept in a locked medicine box, out of reach of children, and there is a box in the kitchen fridge for any that needs to be refrigerated.  Only an R.E.C.E. administers medication and medication must be pharmacy labeled and have the child’s name on it.  A medication log is kept for each child and parents must sign it and specify the medication and the dose (as well as the time to be administered) and it must match the pharmacy label.  The R.E.C.E. will sign the log when the dose has been administered.  Good hygiene habits are strongly encouraged, such that everyone (Staff and children) are required to wash their hands upon entering the room, after toileting and before eating.

We provide and apply sunscreen ( SPF 30) during the summer; however we adhere to Parents’ preference if they prefer to supply their own.

The Centre supplies 2 healthy snacks and a balanced lunch, based on the Canada’s Food Guide.  All Staff are “Good Beginnings” Certified.  This is a free online nutrition course developed by Registered Dietitians for Childcare Professionals in Ontario.  The cook and the Director, as well as any other staff that will be handling food preparation, will also be Food Handlers Certified.  Allergies will be posted in applicable classrooms as well as the kitchen.  We are a nut safe centre in that we do not cook with nuts or nut oils or butters and we discourage people from bringing nuts into the centre.  We request that anyone who has eaten peanut butter to brush their teeth and wash hands and face before coming to daycare.  Parents are asked not to bring food into the centre except in the case of an allergy to foods that we provide.  In this case please bring the food to the cook with the child’s name clearly marked on the outside of the container.  Please be sure the cook is fully aware of it so that it can be stored and prepared properly.  Water is always available to drink throughout the day.  McMaster Children’s Centre does have an Anaphylactic Policy and Procedure in place and staff have been trained in the use of Epipen.

Staff will role model to the children healthy eating behaviours by participating in lunch, snacks and through creative play activities, such as the dramatic play in the kitchen area.  There will be a chart for every Parent to see how their child did during lunch and rest time as well as informing Parents what the cook provided for lunch that day.

Staff will provide a clean and safe environment.  Washrooms are cleaned and disinfected after each washroom routine and floors are swept after lunch and snack.  Toys are cleaned and disinfected weekly as well as before being stored and any time they have been mouthed.  Beds and linen are washed and disinfected weekly as well as when illness or bedwetting accidents occur.  All furniture is kept clean and in good order (broken furniture is fixed or removed immediately upon discovery).  The Centre makes use of a professional cleaning company on a nightly basis.

Support positive and responsive interactions among the children, parents, child-care providers and staff. 

We have an open door policy with Parents.  Staff will greet the Parents and children each day on arrival and departure and share information pertaining to the child through verbal or written communication.  Staff will also utilize phone calls and emails as well as newsletter/calendars to maintain communications with Parents.  Teachers will make themselves available for Parent/Teacher meetings when the needs of the child or Parent require it.  Documentation is displayed for Parents to see what is happening during their child’s time at daycare.

Staff will practice and encourage inclusive and positive interactions.  Toys or play areas are never gender defined, rather all children are encouraged to experience all areas of the classroom.  We will foster an atmosphere of inclusion, cooperation, sharing and friendliness.  This behaviour is modeled with Teachers’ interactions with coworkers, children and Parents.  We use the tenets of The 16 Guidelines for Life as a guide to desired behaviour.

Staff will encourage self-help skills.  Because we view the child as capable we will allow every child the opportunity to develop their potential.  This means that we will encourage children to do as much for them selves as possible without becoming discouraged or frustrated.  We will assist them as is needed.  Staff will challenge the children’s skills so as to facilitate the development of new and stronger skills.  Staff will also encourage the children to be helpful to each other as well.

All staff will follow the CCEYA guidelines for Behaviour Guidance.  We will use positive language when talking with children and adults.  We will guide behaviour through the use of positive language, questions and encouragement.  Never use Prohibited Practices, i.e. corporal punishment, verbal degradation, confinement and deprivation of basic needs (including food, clothing or bedding).  Each staff member will sign off on the Duty to Report upon being hired.

Encourage the children to interact and communicate in a positive way and support their ability to self-regulate

Staff will model the use of positive language and behaviours at all times when talking with the children and other adults.  We will work to help children to develop communication skills and problems solving skills such that they become competent in using multiple forms of communication (words, sign language, and body language) to solve any issues.

To encourage self-regulation we strive to create an environment where every child feels safe and supported to find a variety of ways in which to express their emotions.  We work to teach the children to recognise their emotions and to discover ways in which to deal with the affectively and calmly.

Foster the children’s exploration, play and inquiry

Children make their interests known in a variety of ways.  To discover those interests the Teachers observe, listen and talk with the children and document their interactions.  Using the 4 Foundations of How Does Learning Happen (Belonging, Well-Being, Engagement and Expression) we will create an environment that allows the children to explore the topic of interest, and the world around them, with their natural curiosity and exuberance.  Through play based learning, children will develop the skills needed to expand their abilities as well as their knowledge and understanding of their world.

Provide Child-initiated and adult supported experiences

The R.E.C.E. will follow the child’s lead in our interactions and in developing an environment that is rich in opportunities for exploration and interaction.  Reflecting on our documentation we discover the child’s current interests, which guide us in the materials we provide and the opportunities we offer in all areas of the child’s development.  While considering the needs of the group, individual needs are always considered as well.  The environment will then be set up to encourage the children to challenge their abilities, expand their interests and develop relationships.

Plan for and create positive learning environments and experiences in which each child’s learning and development will be supported

From regular observations of the children’s activities and interactions we will plan a program that will stimulate the interests and development of the children.  We will provide a variety of activities, both active and quiet, which will meet the needs of the developing child regardless of the level of need and development.  We will make changes in our environment and program as the children’s interests and developmental needs change.

Incorporate indoor and outdoor play, as well as active play, rest and quiet time, into the day and give consideration to the individual needs of the children receiving care.

We will follow the guidelines of the CCEYA in setting our program.  We strive to provide equal opportunities for all children to find the active and quiet time that meets their individual needs.  We make use of the playground for two hours every day, weather permitting, providing a variety of active materials.  Nap time is offered for two hours per day after lunch.

Foster the engagement of and ongoing communication with Parents about the program and their children

Parents are welcome to visit and are encouraged to participate in their child’s classroom. The Centre has adopted the HiMama App as an way for educators to correspond with parents throughout each day by sending photos, documentation and updates.Teachers will keep communication open via short discussions, notes, phone calls and emails.  Each class sends out a monthly newsletter/calendar and Parent/Teacher meetings occur whenever necessary.  We have a Board of Directors that we encourage Parents to become involved in Centre activities and fundraising Projects.

Involve local community partners and allow those partners to support the children, their families and staff

McMaster Children’s Centre is fortunate to feature the Artists In Residency Program through  which a Fine Artist works with our children a few hours each week.  The children’s Librarian from the Westdale Library visits once a month, bringing stories, puppets and songs.  Staff members are also members of the Affiliated Services for Children and Youth (ASCY) and the College of E.C.E.s which provide ongoing professional development and resources.  We also partner with the Early Childhood Integration Support Services (ECISS), Early Words, as well as other Children’s health services when working with a child with special needs.  The University occasionally requests our participation in various research projects, while McMaster Children’s Centre will sometimes invite Professors or students to assist in our projects of interest.  Our Policy on research states that – Any outside research projects or requests for observations by interested persons must be presented to the Centre Director for approval.  Notices will be placed on Bulletin Boards in respective rooms, or individual approval slips distributed, advising Parents of upcoming prospects.  Parents have the right to refuse their child’s participation.

Support Staff, home child care providers or others who interact with the children at a child care centre or home child care premises in relation to continuous professional learning

McMaster Children’s Centre makes our facility available to visitors from within our field as well as E.C.E. students and High School Co-op students.  We also, with Parents’ permission, allow McMaster University students to use our centre for various practicum work and projects.  Occasionally, we invite leaders in our field to provide onsite workshops and training sessions for our Staff, while also providing our staff with opportunities to participate in offsite professional development.

Document and review the impact of strategies set out in this statement on the children and their families

We will use documentation, reflection, as well as formal assessments such as ITERS-R(Infant and Toddler Environmental Rating Scale – Revised) and ECERS-R (Early Childhood Environmental Rating Scale – Revised) to continually evaluate our program and its effects on the children and their families.  Surveys will be sent out to our Parents and Staff in an effort to further evaluate our effectiveness.

Staff, Students, and Volunteers will read this Program Statement and sign off prior to interacting with the children, when the statement is updated and on an annual basis.  The Director will review this yearly.

Each program within McMaster Children’s Centre will use a binder for observations, plans and documentation to support understanding.  Documentation will be shared with families.