Al-Hijra Academy believes children are competent, capable of complex thinking, curious and rich in potential. Children are essentially motivated to learn and when provided with enriched environments, nurturing adult interactions, support and the freedom to explore, they can become self-motivated learners. They will be provided opportunities to select learning experiences based on their interest and curiosity. The children will also learn Islamic education and basic tenets of faith. All the activities developed will be age appropriate and will foster cognitive, social, emotional, and physical development.
Al-Hijra Academy governed by the Ontario Ministry of Education and regulate by Child Care and Early Years Act (2014). Al-Hijra has endorsed and is working with the Ministry of Education’s How Does Learning Happen? (HDLH) framework. At the heart of this framework are relationships. The foundations of HDLH include; Belonging, Well-Being, Engagement and Expression. This framework is the inspiration for our program statement. Approaches and how do we implement them:
Foundation: Belonging Every child has a sense of belonging when he or she is connected to the others and contributes to their world.
Promote the health, safety, nutrition and well-being of the children Educators and staff will review the policies and all information concerning any medical conditions, exceptionalities, allergies, food restrictions, medication requirements, and parental preferences in respect to diet, exercise and rest time.
Daily environmental checks – of toys, equipment and classrooms for hazards and cleanliness
To reduce the transmission of illness, staff and children wash their hands upon arrival, before and after snacks and meals, after toileting, before and after water play and other times as needed
Different nutritious snacks and lunches accordance with Canada’s food guide
Low child-teacher ratios lets us provide extra support for children where a little more attention and nurturing is needed. We can offer more insight when it comes to the interactions in the classroom, and to create warm, and responsive adult child relationships
Each child will experience indoor, and two hours of outdoor play (weather permitting) daily, as well as a time to rest and sleep if needed, quiet and active times, always being mindful of each child’s needs and parental direction.
We provide yoga classes twice a week.
Encourage the children to interact and communicate in a positive way and support their ability to self-regulate. We use positive approaches to guiding children, making sure each situation and child is dealt with separately. The methods we use include
Staff guide children through transitions by providing cues to prepare children ahead of time
Children are encouraged to question and explore, share their ideas and co-learn with their teachers
Using conflict resolution as a main method in our problem solving.
Comfort and nurturing are provided when children are needing help or just want a cuddle; quiet cozy areas of the room are provided for children to go to when desired
Children’s self-regulation is encouraged and supported through interactions and guidance from staff
Foundation: Engagement Every child is an active and engaged learner who explores the world with body, mind and senses.
Foster the children’s exploration, play and inquiry Children learn best by real life experiences. Our environment is where learning is fostered and takes place. You will find that our environments are rich with materials and resources for children to use as they build ideas, answer their questions, and explore new and interesting materials. The children will be supported by qualified, attentive and interactive early childhood educators who will provide a rich environment for children to discover and experience.
Provide child-initiated and adult-supported experiences When children are playing, they are learning important concepts that promotes healthy development. Staff listen and observe children, and they can develop a deeper understanding of children’s interests and extend their thinking. Staff provide the children different materials to use that reflects the child's interest. The staff will display to the parent pictures and anecdotal notes of children learning and exploring. These will be posted around the center to document and reflect on the children's learning.
Foundation: Expression Every child is a capable communicator who expresses himself or herself in many ways. The ability to express thoughts, emotions, needs and wants is the most important part of healthy growth and development for children. Children who are able to express themselves in different of ways feel more competent, understood by others, are able to develop the ability to self-reflect and communicate more effectively.
Families Families, especially the parents, are the children’s first and most important teachers, and will always want what is best for their children. They say “it takes a village to raise a child” and Al-Hijra academy wants to be part of the support system that will help parents raise their child to become strong, healthy, and successful and to help them promote the health and well-being of the child. Parents are the experts when it comes to their children and so we work hard to create a warm and inviting place for families to learn and grow with us, as well as participating, sharing, networking and getting involved with Al-Hijra Academy. Regular and ongoing communication with parents is an important component of the day. Communication may be in person, by phone, e-mail or website, directing parents to free workshop about parenting in the community.
Community partners We view the community as important asset. Parents will be directed to resources outside of the center if necessary to community partners such as Children First, John McGivney for speech therapists, occupational therapists, etc. This will be an important part of the centers support to all children and their families. Our center is located in school, so relationships with the principal, faculty and teachers are essential. To connect children and build their relationships to their communities, we visit local libraries, parks and nature trails. These day trips reinforce the outdoors as a learning environment.
Prohibited Practices Under no circumstance will corporal punishment be used for behavior management. As well, the following control techniques are not tolerated: Inappropriate Verbal Practices: • humiliation • threatening • swearing • harassment • yelling • sarcasm • discussion of a child within any child’s hearing Lack of Supervision Including: • diverted attention for frequent or extended periods
• leaving children unsupervised, child unaccounted for • Deprivation of basic needs including food, shelter, clothing or bedding • Confinement, either by locking exits of a room or use of a lockable structure
SUPPORTING STAFF IN CONTINUOUS PROFESSIONAL LEARNING. Al-Hijra Academy is committed to hiring and training qualified staff. All staff are respected, supported and treated fairly. Our current staff have completed Early Childhood Education and are registered with the College of Early Childhood Educators. All program staff attend, mandatory professional meetings and are committed to continuous professional learning in the field, to implement the approaches specified in program statement, and the commission of prohibited practices. In our program, positive adult-child interactions is ongoing throughout the year. Staff develop programs that supports early learning based on the child’s curiosity and next steps while recognizing that each child is unique and different. Staff interact with the children as co-learners and during their exploration of the environment, while provoking their curiosity and creating positive interactions with each child. The staff is committed to building self-awareness and reflect on new practices, both with themselves and other staff members.
Document and review the impact of the strategies set out above on the children and their families
Families are encouraged to provide informal feedback on an ongoing basis
Reflective observations about the program are discussed amongst staff when the program is done. Staff share and debrief their observations with each other and discuss plans for how to build on what the children are interested in and doing
Policies and procedures are reviewed annually
This program statement will be reviewed annually by all staff, students and volunteers. Staff, parents, students and volunteers are notified in writing of any revisions to this program statement.
All new staff, students and volunteers review this program statement prior to interacting with children and when the program statement is modified.
We will continue to review and implement new and positive approaches in the classroom, and make sure it is reflected in the program statement
We keep records pertaining to monitoring of our Program Statement for 3 years
The website that helped with writing the program statement is: www.earlyyears.edu.gov.on.ca