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Wednesday, 18 June 2014

School Readiness - Who needs to be ready?

One of the top questions we get at work is "Will my child be ready for school when they leave here?".

Fair question.

We have a particular take on that.

We believe children learn as they play.

As they plan and are observed by skilled educators who help them develop their language, their problem solving, their conflict resolution their deep thinking, their growing bodies......and offer them multiple ways to explore an idea or a theory.

Do we teach them to read and write?


We develop their love of literacy through the valuing of storybooks and story telling and reading.

We model writing..... all the time.

We paint and build sand castles and glue things to develop fine motor skills needed to write.

We sound words out, we play with language, we read poems, we sing songs.

We have a lot of fun.

We pay very careful attention to each child's development so that we see who is meeting milestones and who is taking longer to meet them.  Who may need help.

We dialogue with parents about their child and their childs behaviour, their interests, their strengths, the areas they could use some support in.

So "Yes".

The answer is "Yes your child will be ready for school when they leave here".

But here's the thing.

Will school be ready for your child?  

Your deep thinker, your artist, your scientist with loads of theories and lots of ideas about what experiments to do prove his/her theories?

Will your child be closely observed to discern his or her keen interest in a topic?

Be given ways to further their thinking, add to their knowledge?

To show their thinking in multiple mediums?

Will your sad, anxious child find a warm lap or a quiet corner to read a book?

Sadly..... more often than not....the answer is No, they won't.

Not because a teacher doesn't want to be there for them but because there is only one of him/her.

And over 20 children (not like at our centres where there are 4 Educators for 25 children).

And sadly not all those 20 children will have had what your child had.

Many will not be ready for school.  Some will not have had the benefit of early assessment and intervention your child had.  Some won't have the language, the social competencies, the problem solving skills.

The teacher may or may not have any assistance with all of the above and more.

He/She will likely be overwhelmed and exhausted no matter how many hours they work above and beyond "school hours"and no matter how many of their own resources they bring in.

So before you think this current situation in Public Education will all be settled before you need it..... think again.

What kind of school system DO you want us to get your child ready for?  

Early Childhood Educators care deeply about what happens in this current labour dispute.

We invest daily in the future citizens of the world who deserve respect and resources and to have their thinking noticed and extended.

That is why we think small class size matters.

We see every day the difference personal attention makes.  It's a powerful thing.  We think all children deserve to have that once they enter the school system and we think you should demand it.

We also believe there should be sufficient resources for teachers to do the job they want to do.

So if you haven't already added your voice to this debate by emailing or calling your MLA, or Christy Clark
or Education Minister Peter Fassbender - then we ask you to please do so.


May the work we do, make the world we live in, a little more worthy of our children.                                                                                                                  Tom Hunter.

Friday, 13 June 2014


One of the things I learned in London Ontario at the Leadership Institute was that I had mistakenly let my focus slip.

I had become almost completely focused on the operational side of running this organisation. There is, of course, much to keep my focus there.  It is busy and important "stuff".

But I have come to the conclusion that unless my focus is ALWAYS on the pedagogical work then I am off course.

I believe SO deeply in the work we do with children, I believe deeply that the people we hire can do the work with excellence, that our physical spaces reflect our vision and values..... BUT I don't always have this pedagogical work at the top of my mind and decision making.

I want that to change.

This week I went to visit one of our centres.

 I took note of the work.

The work the children were doing.

The work the educators were doing.

It was a great to notice, to see,  to be reminded that I do my work so this work can happen with joy and authenticity and purpose.

So thank you to this very intent 3 year old who so carefully painted each brick with water, who showed her dexterity and patience and curiosity.... who showed me again the "why" of my job.

And that 3 year olds are amazing people.

Sunday, 8 June 2014

Pro D

Jennifer and I just attended a Leadership Institute in London Ontario - we have so much to share with you but it only post conference Day 1  - which feels like THIS.......   We will share more once our heads clear.


Tuesday, 3 June 2014

Unstructured Play

A very helpful article on unstructured play........ something we value around here....Article