We hope this page is helpful for educators working with children in Early Learning and Child Care. Enjoy browsing a variety of topics to build on your knowledge and inclusive practices.
This website has been developed in collaboration with the ICC Community Partners.
We know our work is complex and that all topics have extensive literature to support professional practices.
This site aims to share knowledge in a condensed, user friendly format with ideas that you might pick up and use tomorrow in your program.
Programming in Early Learning and Child Care
“In high quality Early Childhood Education and Child Care (ECEC) programs all children have opportunities to develop their language, social, physical and cognitive abilities. Inclusive early education is not just about placement in a program, but also active participation in social interactions and the development of children’s abilities and skills” (Underwood, 2013).
Programming refers to the physical environment as well as the planned and emergent experiences for children in early childhood settings. Educators’ views of the child and childhood are reflected in programming and guide the interactions between educators and children. An important starting place for educators is to reflect on and discuss their images of the child. Makovichuk, Hewes, Lirette & Thomas (2014) acknowledge there may be many different images of the child within early childhood communities. Flight: Alberta’s Early Learning and Care Framework recognizes children as strong, resourceful, and capable. Children are frequently referred to as “mighty learners” and citizens.
Three areas of programming which impact quality of learning and care:
“The environments in which children live, play, and relate can open up or limit opportunities for their care, play, and learning. The Educators’ role in designing the environment is central to children’s experiences. The Educators’ knowledge helps them to understand the kinds of play and learning experiences that support each child’s care, sense of belonging, as well as nurture their dispositions to learn” (Makovichuk, Hewes, Lirette & Thomas, 2014, p. 64).
Environments that are responsive to the children’s needs provide flexibility and structure by addressing the following elements, which can be adapted to support all children:
- Time: the daily routines of the day, that allow time for playing, thinking, opportunities to engage with others or be alone.
- Space: reflects the children and families in the program, areas to be alone and areas to gather with others and to explore interests.
- Materials: a variety of materials that inspire creativity and exploration are accessible for all children to use or observe.
- Participation: the environment supports the engagement of all children and families, fostering strong relationships and a sense of belonging. (Makovichuk, et. al, 2014, pp. 63-68).
High quality inclusive environments in early childhood settings are a result of key elements and practices which are implemented by educators in providing effective support to young children with diverse needs.
Early childhood environmental support increases the participation and engagement of all children.
Makovichuk, L., Hewes, J., Lirette, P.. & Thomas, N., 2014. Flight: Alberta’s early learning and child care framework. Retrieved from: www.flightframework.ca
Early Care and Education Environment Indicators of High-Quality Inclusion and Observation, Early Child Technical Center /National Center for Pyramid Model Innovations, retrieved from: https://challengingbehavior.cbcs.usf.edu/docs/ECEE_Indicators_Observation-Tool.pdf)
Practices that support all children include:
- Collaborative Teaming
- Cultural Awareness and Sensitivity
- Family Engagement
- Nurturing Children’s Engagement
- Visual Supports
- Shared Behaviour Expectations
- Supportive Transitions
- Social Emotional Development and Learning
- Meaningful Interactions with Peers
- Embracing Individual Differences
- Adapting Routines: Every Child Can Participate
Additional Information: Inclusive Environments
Flight Framework (Responsive Environments: pgs. 63-69)
- The four elements of a responsive environment: time, space, materials, and participation
- Information, links, and videos on designing a child-centered classroom that incorporates projects and interaction
Trauma Informed Care
- Out of School Care