The Registered Early Childhood Educators at the McMaster Children’s Centre strive to create a safe and positive environment that enhances all developmental areas of the toddler and preschool child: Cognitive, Physical (large and fine motor) Language (expressive and receptive) Emotional and Social. The teachers plan each activity and learning centre with every child’s needs, developmental levels and the fundamentals of early learning in mind.
The following details the learning that occurs at The McMaster Children’s Centre:
A Day in the Life of your child…
Free play is what we call the time when I can choose my own activities. The teachers create imaginative learning centres that are related to our interests and development. I learn best through play – it helps me socially, emotionally, cognitively, physically and expands my expressive and receptive language.
Creative/Self Help Shelf:
I have lots of fun in this area as I am using my creativity and curiosity about the world to make my thinking and learning visible. We have a variety of 2 and 3D art supplies and media to create with. While we are creating, we are developing our fine motor skills (pincer grasp and tool use) self expression, self esteem, problem solving and representational skills.
We have many opportunities for sensory exploration, which helps us to develop physically, emotionally and cognitively. Our sensory play bins are where we experiment with various textures, materials, sand or water. The teachers make coloured play dough to pound, squish and roll. Not only is sensory play soothing and relaxing for me, but I also learn about pre-math, measuring, science and conservation of mass.
Small Group Activities and Gathering Time:
I love gathering time where I can sit in a circle or group with my friends! My teachers enjoy reading us stories, telling us flannel board or puppet stories, singing songs or teaching us about our recent interest or Guideline. Gathering time and small group activities help to create positive attitudes toward learning and a love of literacy.
Easel Chalk/ Painting:
Standing at an easel gives me a whole new perspective to art. My arm is able to move more freely than when I am sitting at a table. The teachers will use chalk, paint, pastels, markers and even water to allow me to create at the easel.
My favourite table top and shelf toys/puzzles help me to develop my pre-reading, pre-math and pre-writing skills. They also encourage my fine motor skills, problem solving and social skills, as I often have to work together with my friends.
The teachers have provided many quite areas in the room when I feel like having a quiet time alone. I can create my own flannel or magnetic story, play with puppets or relax on a comfy carpet or couch. I can look at books by myself or with my friends and teachers. I am developing my auditory skills, pre-reading skills and expanding my expressive and receptive language. I am also learning to identify and regulate my emotions.
Block Centre and Manipulative Toys:
We have a block centre with large stacking blocks that I can sit on and smaller building blocks that I am able to stack. I like to use my imagination, social skills and large motor skills here! We play with several construction/building toys too. We use our small fingers and hands to manipulate the pieces. I am learning to use my creative mind and socially interact with my friends.
Our dramatic play centre has lots of interesting things to allow us to role play and learn about the world we see around us. We can pretend to cook dinner, take care of babies, wash dishes or tidy our classroom with our mop, brooms and sponges. Here, we share ideas, negotiate roles with others and learn about various cultures and family dynamics.
We play outdoors for a minimum of two hours a day! I practice my self help and fine motor skills by getting ready for outdoor play. Outside, I can run, throw, catch, jump and explore nature. I enjoy digging in the sandbox, playing hockey, soccer or chase games with my friends. I am learning to be healthy and active outdoors.
Science and Music:
I love to explore and study nature in the science area. Here, I can learn to use a microscope, magnifying glass or weigh scales. Depending on my interest, I can learn all about insects, bones, senses, magnets and natural objects that we find on nature walks around campus! I am learning how to collect and organize information, reflect and reach conclusions.
The teachers like to incorporate music into my daily classroom routine. It helps to improve my auditory skills. I can learn about different kinds of music- blues, rock, classical, as well as various cultures and sounds. We like to learn about beat, tempo and rhythm and different types of instruments. Creative movement and dance are my favourite- I love dance parties!
Lunch is a time when I try different kinds of food and a time to socialize with my preschool friends and teachers. Our centre cook makes delicious lunches! My teachers and friends sit down at the table together. I learn about the value of nutrition, hygiene and manners. During morning and afternoon snack time, I am free to choose whether or not I feel like eating today. I am learning to make choices and feel respected.
This is when I get to cuddle with my favourite soft toy and rest on my own cot after lunch. The children’s centre supplies a warm blanket and sheet (laundered weekly) and my sleep toy is stored in my own bag that I may borrow from the children’s centre. I try to stay awake but with the room so quiet and dark, listening to relaxing music, my busy day usually catches up with me.
Each day is fun at the McMaster Children’s Centre. I am learning so much about myself and the world around me. I am always happy to see you at the end of my day and tell you all about my adventures.