Our commitment to inclusivity informs all of our practices: from art materials and toy selection to naps-by-request, and one-hour's-notice booking.
We meet you, and your family, where you're at.
And it definitely helps us meet the kids where they are at, too!
Flexible educational care, with a 1:4 ratio
Each of our staff provide care for "up to four children", but of course, it doesn't really work like that.
When one teacher is changing a diaper in the bathroom, the others engage with the children on the floor, organizing group activities that promote social learning, presenting parallel play opportunities, and making sure the space is clean and safe. When it gets hectic, we practice keeping calm (and non-violent crisis intervention), while the daycare routines help us move through the day.
But of course, we also know that they will need individual attention at various times. Especially at the beginning!
Building a relationship
Every step of our welcome process (including our free integration week) is designed to give families the information they need, for the smoothest transition possible. We provide lots of resources, and are always happy to help families understand how our values guide our care.
Even still, at the beginning, it can be hard to believe those tears will dry, which is why we love sharing photos of the happy times you can't imagine at drop-off.
After a month of strategic introductory visits, building familiarity, some crying at drop-off is not unusual, but if it's extensive, we start looking for other causes, and start applying one ore more of the strategies outlined below.
Check the physicals
Tiredness, hunger, wetness, illness, and unmet physical needs, would drive anyone to tears. We offer food every two hours, and naps by request, or whenever children are tired. In good health, rested, with tummies full, we're all ready to play!
Buddings may be flexible, but most children feel most comfortable when they know what comes next. Our centres have visual clocks so we can show kids how the day will go. If children are having trouble settling in, we may recommend more frequent visits.
"Use your words"
At daycare, being unable to express their needs can lead, understandably, to frustration and tears. Limited language ability is the most common trigger for physical behaviours as well, but there are lots of things teachers, and families, can do to help!
Supported with communication
With open, ongoing communication, proactive parent-teacher cooperation, and a structured schedule, we know we can work through the most challenging behavioural phases. Sometimes these things just take time.
Whenever we make exceptions to our regularly scheduled programming (outlined in our Parent Handbook), we collaborate with families to create a plan that everyone can support.
The handbook explains that our approach to guidance involves helping the kids understand the natural consequences of their actions. Stomping on the books can tear them, and if they throw the toys, someone can get hit. Ouch!
We believe young children want to understand the world, but if they are experimenting with physical behaviours, we use a logical consequence instead: You hit, you sit - for one minute per year of age.
This puts the consequence on the actor, rather than victim.
We use a timer to make sure justice is swift and fair, and let parents know, so it can also be universal.
If injuries are sustained, the event will be documented with an incident report, with everyone's identities protected.
*Watch* has been added to your allergies
Since food intake has the biggest impact on the rest of the day, this is when supporting children who are still adjusting to daycare matters most.
If your child needs a "helper" at meal time, on an ongoing basis, *Watch at snack* (or other times) may be added to your family's allergy field as a reminder to staff of any discussions or plans for care. This is seen only by family members and daycare staff and can be updated as events progress.
If there are specific activities, energy-levels, or materials, required or to be avoided, this is where we would make a note.
If children need a one-on-one helper all the time, we may need to discuss more comprehensive support options.
There's always tomorrow!
Regardless of the circumstances, Buddings teachers can NEVER ostracize, isolate, restrain, or shame children over their behaviour. (Good, right?) No timeout chair, no room to be sent to, and normally, no punishments of any kind.
In the event that repeated occurrences are preventing the teachers from keeping the daycare safe, we may call and ask a family member to collect the child ahead of schedule. It's not because we're mad, or incapable. It's because we're teachers.
Being sent home teaches children that unacceptable, unsafe behaviour has real consequences, including disappointing their parents, missing out on playing, and leaving their friends.
If it comes to this, we will send home an objective report of the day's events, including our strategies. Then, it's up to families to work with their kids to come up with acceptable responses, so everyone can have a better visit next time. (The sooner the better, honestly!)
Usually, the lesson does not need to be repeated, and children who have learned it know that daycare is a respectful place, where rules are upheld, and everyone is treated fairly.
Because, at the end of the day, teachers are not parents. Our standards are set by licensing, and our members expect us to provide the safe, educational care we promised when they joined. We take that very seriously.
We want to work with families and with children, but if they can't or don't want to work with us, we have to acknowledge that.
Which we will do, according to our policies, values, and with unconditional positive regard.