YES Kids Christian Childcare believes in offering an exceptional program where we strive to meet the needs of the whole child, mind, body, heart, and soul. We model holistic health and wellness through the nutritious foods served, group fitness classes, connecting with the indoor and outdoor environment, and loving others all while recognizing God as the creator of all things. We see the importance in meeting the needs of work, rest, and play, in both group and individual settings throughout the day. We believe each child to be competent, capable, curious and rich in potential. To foster exploration, play and inquiry, creativity and to be active, the children are encouraged to ask questions, take time to wonder about created things, and to be challenged to try new things. A quality program is much more than what the children play with but how they play, think, feel, interact, discover and process new information. Our team learns about the children and how they interact and communicate with others, the environment, and help them with their ability to self-regulate through observation and documentation.
Documentation is a key tool to encourage interaction, and communication between the YES Kids team, the children, their families, and it opens up opportunities to engage in meaningful, extended conversation at home. We welcome families to share their discoveries from home so that our team can integrate these ideas into the child’s day where possible. We understand the important role the family plays in a child’s life and look for ways to support them where possible. It is our desire for every child to go home each day feeling that they were loved, accepted, valued, seen and heard. We believe each person is uniquely created by God with a plan and purpose and we welcome and celebrate each child’s diversity with gladness.
YES Kids not only sees the value of having a written program statement but to actively live it out. We believe that working together with our families, meeting regularly with our board of directors and involvement with the community through Love Our Neighbour* projects contributes to offering an exceptional Christian childcare program. The children in our care are active contributors to the learning environment and are encouraged to listen when others are speaking, and to communicate in a positive way with both peers and adults. Educators provide support and opportunities for children to both express their own feelings while beginning to empathize with how their peers are feeling. With programming based upon children’s interests, strengths, and abilities the above skills are developed. Visible documentation also provides the opportunity for children to see their own experiences. Children are encouraged to be proud of their own actions, and develop self-help skills at various times throughout the day.
In order to achieve our program statement we implement the four foundations for learning from the Ministry of Education document “How Does Learning Happen? Ontario’s Pedagogy for the Early Years”
The four foundations for learning are:
- A sense of Belonging
- A sense of Well-Being
- Opportunities and support for Engagement and
- Opportunities and support for Expression
The Importance of Belonging
No matter what age, we all long for a sense of belonging, children are no different. When we are connected to others and contribute to the world we have a sense of belonging, we were created for relationship and community. To meet this need our team engages the children in meaningful and purposeful conversations with open ended questions. We encourage the children to take care of their classroom environment to see that they play an important role in it. We offer opportunities to experience community in small and large group activities, giving the children a sense that they belong to a whole group. We do this through morning movement and devotions as all the children come together to see they are part of something bigger than their individual class. We seek opportunities throughout the year to serve the community through Love Our Neighbour projects, this gives the children and their families a chance to contribute to the community outside the childcare walls. We consider suggestions from our team, the children, and their families as opportunities arise. Love Our Neighbour projects are our way of modelling God’s love for others in need without expecting anything in return.
The Importance of Well-Being
We believe a healthy person includes the whole person, heart, mind, body, and soul. Our YES Kids team strives to nurture all these areas and model what a holistic and healthy lifestyle looks like. We believe in the importance of children learning at a young age that one way we can love ourselves, others, and God is by caring for our whole self. A child’s sense of a healthy well-being is the heart of our Christian program.
Heart – Every person needs to feel that they are valuable, accepted, loved, seen and heard. Our team strives for each child to experience this while in our care. We will get down to the child’s level, make eye contact, and smile when in conversation. This might sound simple but we do not want it to get missed in the busyness of life. We slow down and make time for each child because they are seen and heard which leads to a sense of being valuable and accepted. To be loved helps to love oneself and others well.
Mind – A healthy mind not only includes processing new knowledge and gaining wisdom, but rest and renewal. Just like our body needs rest and relaxation, so does our mind. Time and opportunities are given for the children to renew their minds by enjoying the natural playground or finding a quiet place in the classroom. A time to absorb the surroundings of the great outdoors and a scheduled time of rest. We recognize that each child has individual needs and some need more alone time than others. We respect that and observe when a child may need some time to relax, which is one way we can support self-regulation.
Body – We are passionate about modelling and educating children at a young age to honour our bodies by taking care of what we have been given. We meet the needs of self-care by providing wholesome foods that meet or exceed the Canadian Food guidelines, as well water is always accessible through the day and is our first choice to hydrate. Our team uses the time scheduled for refueling the body as an opportunity to engage in purposeful conversation. We use this time to educate the children about what they put in their bodies and the benefits of eating wholesome foods. Movement is a joyful time, we were created to move and that is what we do. Above the required two hours of outdoor play we gather each morning with our certified Revelation Wellness®️ fitness instructor where she leads the children through a time of movement, praise, and thanksgiving. As well each child has scheduled YES Fit classes through the week led by our fitness instructor. Our gym also gives space for smaller groups of children to move on those days where they need more activity, especially on days when they cannot get outside due to weather.
Soul – At YES Kids we believe in modelling and teaching biblical truths from the Bible, literature, prayer, pictures, music, conversation, and participating in Love Our Neighbour projects. These are weaved throughout the day and integrated in the environment giving our team and the children opportunity to nurture their soul while recognizing God the Creator in a Christian atmosphere.
The Opportunity for Engagement
The children will be encouraged to actively engage with their environment through exploring with their body, mind, and senses. The classroom is seen as the third teacher where the children have the freedom to be active in creativity, exploration, play and inquiry. The classrooms are designed to promote independence giving the children opportunity to care for the environment and themselves. A well organized environment gives the children a sense of order with less chaos. Natural resources are integrated into the indoor environment to give opportunity for the children to engage with nature using their body, mind, and senses. Different forms of documentation such as art and photographs are displayed at the children’s height to further their classroom engagement.
The Opportunity for Expression
Children are capable communicators and will be given the freedom to express themselves in different ways. Our team recognizes that each person is created with a unique personality and therefore need opportunities to communicate in ways that meet their individual needs. We encourage communication through helping the children to identify their feelings, ask questions, express themselves through art, movement, and solitude.
The Leadership of the Director
Our Director is a Registered Early Childhood Educator with years of diverse experience in Montessori as well as Home Schooling. She is on the Board of Directors of TEACH (To Educate A Child’s Heart). Her extensive training includes certification as a fitness instructor in Revelation Wellness®️. Revelation Wellness®️ is a “non-profit ministry dedicated to educating and inspiring people to live healthy and whole lives in Christ so that we can love others well.” She has a passion for the well-being of each child and is committed to inspiring health and wellness in the children and the team at YES Kids Christian Childcare.
The Role of the Educator
Our educators are co learners in our childcare environment. They are skilled observers and are able to use their knowledge of child development to continually develop their curriculum. Documenting learning helps educators see and understand where they have been and inspires them to see where the curriculum may take them next. Documentation is done with photos, learning stories, observational checklists and progress reports. Reflections based on the above documentations helps educators look at what they do and why they do it. It helps them to fully understand the impact their actions have on children and their families. Our Registered Early Childhood Educators understand that being engaged in play supports development and challenges them to look at their own thinking while showing children that they are interested in what they are doing.
Through face to face interactions, active listening, role modelling and the offering of comfort and hugs when needed, children see and feel the importance of these positive interactions. Educators value children as part of the planning. They see the sense of belonging it brings to the child when they contribute to their surroundings, and how their daily interactions impact the relationships they are building.
The Role of the Board of Directors
The Board of Directors and Pastors of Yeschurch are a strong support for the Director and team, and offer encouragement, mentoring, direction, and decision making when necessary.
The Board meets monthly as an integral part of the YES Kids Childcare team.
The Need for Ongoing Support
We see YES Kids Christian Childcare as an opportunity to reach out and meet the needs in our community. We value our team, the children, and the families and desire to see them thrive and grow. We encourage our team and families to practice caring for their whole self just as we model for the children. To support this, information and opportunities about health and wellness will be shared for keeping up to date on the newest research and discoveries to inspire healthy lifestyles. We encourage a fulsome balance of work, rest, and activity by sharing opportunities offered through the community as well as outreach programs through Yeschurch. This could include articles, seminars, and programs that come available throughout the year. Everyone is encouraged to take advantage of the community YES Fit classes and other programs offered through the Yeschurch fitness ministry.
We support all children to fully participate in their child care environment, our program is designed to meet the needs of all children by creating an inclusive space to build relationships between the children, families, and our team. Children learn at their own pace and will be supported to do so without exclusion. All of our classroom teachers are Registered Early Childhood Educators (RECE) and have the skills and knowledge to implement an inclusive program. Further training in Ontario’s Pedagogy Curriculum; How Does Learning Happen (HDLH) help our staff deliver the most up-to-date program for all children.
We offer support to our families when we see a need or a family expresses a need to us. We will strive to find appropriate resources and support by contacting community partners and professionals in the childcare field when necessary. When an outside resource professional works in the classroom with a child with special needs, communication and documentation by our team will be a regular practice, families will receive the support needed as we work together.
We offer support to our team by keeping them informed of opportunities available for professionals working with children throughout the year. They are encouraged to participate in seminars and programs to further enhance their knowledge and skills in the childcare field as they come available. We support our team as a whole by coming together for monthly meetings to discuss new ideas and problem solve when situations arise. This is also a time to reflect and discuss any changes needed to be made to keep the program current and aligned with our Program Statement. As well, teachers will have individual time to observe or program plan weekly. This could include observing their own class or one of the other classrooms of YES Kids. There is ample space for teachers to program plan in the staff room where they can focus without the distractions within the classroom. When our Community partners come into the classroom to work with children with special needs they are also there to bring support to the classroom teachers by helping them to understand, what to expect, to develop, implement and review an Individualized Education Plan (IEP).
Review and Reflect
Our program statement is the heart of YES Kids Christian Childcare. We understand that a quality Christian childcare in our community requires a strong and collaborative team committed to this vision and we will reflect on our practices through daily interactions, monthly staff meetings, and individual performance reviews. The monthly staff meetings will be a time for reflection as a large group, to share successes and impacts as well as to plan the next month’s focus. Throughout the year there will be opportunities to show appreciation for the staff and to acknowledge their value and worth within our YES Kids team. Annually, the Director will formally meet with each individual staff to discuss performance, goal setting, and future professional development. Our Program Statement will be reviewed annually as a whole team to reflect and implement any changes that may need to be made in order to keep in alignment of our statement and to build on the success of how our team implements our statement into the daily programming.
Family involvement and communication is important to us. Throughout the year, families will be given opportunities to review and reflect on the overall program and experiences they have with YES Kids. Daily, families will receive documentation and observations that show child development and pedagogy through the HiMama app. This is a service we are confident in that will give families the opportunity to stay up to date and informed of their child’s daily activities and progress, and a way to communicate with the classroom teachers.
*Love Our Neighbour project is a Yeschurch initiative geared to helping local families connect with other families or agencies in our community to receive support. This can happen through visits to senior’s centers or gathering clothing or food for local charities. This opportunity models the importance of community connection and allows children to be part of it.