Children Are Awe-some!

Our vision for the kids in our care is to foster their love of learning through play. Every child is born a mighty learner!

 We think children are:

  • compassionate, generous, reflective thinkers; 
  • thoughtful problem solvers; 
  • breathtakingly alive in their bodies; and
  • skillful collaborators. 

We live alongside them in ways that communicate our affection, delight, and regard. Because one size does not fit all, we provide flexible and affordable programs as diverse as the children we care for. 

Our curriculum honours individuality and nurtures each child’s developing understanding of themselves in relationship to others. And we invite children, their families, and our educators to see themselves as valued members of the community. Together, we take responsibility for the shape of that community. That also means we engage in rich relationships and thoughtful dialogue. Differences are opportunities to strengthen our connections to each other. At Wild Heart, everyone feels safe and respected. 

Phew! That’s a lot to take in, but we live by these principles. 

Infants in Action

Our Infant Program is designed for children 12 to 18 months old and focuses on heart work.  We help children develop healthy strategies for separation from loved ones and build trusting relationships with caregivers.  Children are supported as they communicate and express feelings, and we nurture their developing sense of self.

Trusting relationships are built in partnership. We work with each family to identify an appropriate transition routine–, one that supports the parent/guardian and leaves the child feeling secure. Then we acknowledge the child’s experience as is! Rather than telling them they are okay, we give language to what they might be feeling (scared, sad, angry) and suggest strategies for moving through that feeling.  Sometimes children need a snuggle, other times a snack, other times play.  We learn each child’s preferred ways of doing things, and pay attention to what their daily needs are. Family photos are placed into soft photo blocks that children can visit whenever they need.

Infants have high personal care needs, so our curricular planning centers around the routines and transitions in the day.  For example, we plan for rich interactions during diaper changes: narrating what’s happening, singing a favourite song from home, labelling body parts, practicing words from a child’s primary language, discussing what is happening in the day, or making silly faces at one another.

The thoughtfully prepared environment offers children opportunities to play with new materials, and explore their emerging self-identity. Mirrors are placed close to the ground so children can spot their own (and others’!) reflections.

If this program sounds interesting or if you have any questions please get in touch.

Toddlers in Action

Our Toddler program is for children from 19 months to 3 years old. At its core, this program is about developing trusting relationships between children and caregivers. Children are learning to coexist in a group setting and to interact with adults other than their parents. Routines and transitions are molded and taught, but remain flexible and responsive to the needs of each child.

As trusting relationships develop and the children’s social skills grow, they are encouraged to move from playing with adults only, to playing alongside each other, to playing interactively with one another. Children are not expected to share effectively yet, but are encouraged to gain the language needed to problem solve and develop their skills by taking turns.

There is a strong language development component to our toddler program. Children practice communication with adults and peers, and are immersed in a language-rich environment. Children gain vocabulary (labels for objects and feelings), the ability to follow more complex direction (2 to 4 steps), and will begin to understand “what”, “where” and “when”.  This development happens naturally through the use of stories, songs, finger plays and language modelling.

Program experiences are often kinesthetic by design, allowing children to explore the environment using their senses and engaging in hands-on experiences. This means we will send them home dirty, so please send your child in play clothes!

If this program sounds interesting or if you have any questions please get in touch.

Preschool in Action

The emphasis of our Preschool Program for 3-year-olds is social and emotional development. For many children, this is their first experience away from their parents, so we focus on developing trusting relationships between children and their teachers. Children are learning to cooperate in a group setting, and educators support them as they engage in associative play and continue developing basic problem solving skills. 

Through play, children gain basic math and science principles. For example, we will categorize fruits and veggies in the play kitchen by colour, or by what we like to eat (and what we don’t!). We’ll discover properties of weight and stability while stacking blocks and knocking them down. We’ll explore volume while filling and pouring out containers in the water table. Exploring how stuff works is fun, and our educators facilitate many different ways for children to find out more about the world and each other. 

Program experiences often encourage physical expression that allows children to engage in whole-body and hands-on experiences. Music, movement and fine arts are daily components of our program. Gross motor play, including outdoor play, also happens every day. 

If this program sounds interesting or if you have any questions please get in touch.

Pre-K in Action

The emphasis of the Pre-K Program is the continued development of social and emotional skills via inquiry-based learning. Educators support children as they engage in cooperative play and develop friendship skills. Building a sense of community is an important part of our program. 

Activities are chosen based on the expressed interests of children and are used to support children in articulating their wonderings. Educators help children answer their own questions! Using play as a teaching tool, children develop skills in language, math and science. Every day, the children put into practice their gross and fine motor skills, they experience music and movement, and they develop relationships with their peers and teachers. 

A great example of this model at work: 

Over snack one child mentions to the children at his table that he likes French fries. Another child shares that his mom is silly because she says French fries are made from potatoes. Now the great debate starts! The teacher in the classroom takes out a large piece of paper and starts writing down the children’s ideas and questions about French fries: Are they really potatoes? How come they can be different shapes? Why doesn’t my mom cook them in a basket like at McDonalds? Why are some orange? 

Once the children’s initial questions are documented, they start to make a plan to find the answers! They look French fries up in an encyclopedia and find out that, indeed, they’re made from potatoes! “We should make French fries!” a child declares. “What will we need?” her classmate responds. 

The children identify and collect the tools they will need to test their theories. They estimate the number of potatoes they will need to make enough French fries for all the children in the classroom. They take a field trip to Safeway to purchase potatoes and choose between many varieties. They negotiate on who will complete which task—who will use (with close adult supervision) the fry cutter, the twirly fry cutter, the mandolin, child safe knives, etc. They document the story of their process in pictures and in writing…and so the learning continues. 

If this program sounds interesting or if you have any questions please get in touch.

Kinders in Action

The Kinder Program is unique as children spend half their day in kindergarten, and the other half of their day with us. Our curricular choices are responsive to this significant transition in children’s lives.

During their kindergarten year, children are increasing their stamina, and we support varying regulation needs before and after school. Regulation needs vary from child to child, and moment to moment–, it could be running down the hill, spinning in circles, curling up with a book on their own, sitting on the lap of a favourite caregiver.

Our response and curricular choices shift in response to our own observations, children’s play and parent feedback. In September it is common for children to be less interested in new or high energy activities, and instead they choose restful, familiar games like “tooth fairy” (all children lie down, and a chosen tooth fairy tries to put money under their heads). As children’s stamina increases, they seek out newness again, and begin to ask “What are we doing today?” with enthusiasm. As a result, in the winter months, we take on deeper explorations such as making movies and creating self-portraits and storybooks.

If this program sounds interesting or if you have any questions please get in touch.

OSC in Action

The OSC program is designed for children in grades 1 to 6. 

Before children head to school for the day, we ensure they transition away from their family, and connect to their friends, the program, and their educators. Mornings can be used for children to draw on their own or with a friend, reading, building lego creations, eating their breakfast, or planning activities for the end of the day. It is important that this period of the day is useful and meaningful without being so exciting that children have a difficult time leaving for school.

Our role at the end of the day is to ensure there are opportunities for regulation, connection and resolving conflicts; our goal is that children are feeling like themselves by the time parents pick up. Every child needs different support to regulate, feel connected and resolve conflicts, and it will vary from day to day. A few examples of these supports can be: kicking a ball for 30 minutes, having a snack with a friend, working on a project, free play, talking through a problem at recess with a trusted educator. 

School closure days are such a treasured highlight of the program! These days are reserved for adventures like visiting the ravine, going on community walks and taking field trips (such as the museum or the Reuse Center). 

If this program sounds interesting or if you have any questions please get in touch.