The Meeting Early Childhood Needs educational program, which was introduced by the ministère de la Famille, is aimed at the following objectives:
- assures children receive quality services;
- serves as a reference tool for people working in childcare services;
- ensures that all educational childcare services apply an adequate program;
- ensures coherent interventions.
Principles of the educational program
Each child is unique. The educational activities respect your child's needs, interests and development rhythm.
The child is the primary agent of his or her development. Your child's development depends on his or her abilities and motivations. The adult's role in this approach is that of a guide who supports the child in achieving autonomy.
The child's development is a comprehensive and integrated process. The educational program addresses several dimensions: affective, physical and motor, social and moral, cognitive and language.
The child learns through play. Play, the child's main activity in childcare, is also the basis of the educational intervention.
Collaboration between childcare service and parents is essential to the child's harmonious development.
Dimensions of the child's development
Emotional dimension — Children learn to establish relationships of trust with adults other than their parents, express and control their emotions, live with changes and transitions, have self-confidence and develop their personal and sexual identity.
Physical and motor dimension — Children develop their sensory perception, gross and fine motor skills, coordination, lateralization and perception of their bodies.
Social and moral dimension — Children learn to get along with their peers, integrate into a group, respect differences, cooperate, exercise their leadership, and consider the position of others before acting.
Cognitive dimension — Children learn to organize themselves in space and time, structure their thoughts, reason, deduce, understand the world around them and solve problems.
Language dimension — Children learn to understand and speak. They develop their vocabulary and phonological awareness. They also learn to express themselves with their bodies, particularly by means of the arts: mime, singing, dance, theatre, etc. They awaken to the culture around them, particularly reading and writing.
Little by little, children become more autonomous. They develop the ability to feed and dress themselves and relax on their own. They acquire health lifestyles and food habits, as well as behaviours that favourable influence their health and well-being.
Playing is learning
For the child, play is the ideal instrument to explore and understand their universe. Play must therefore be considered the essential activity by which children express themselves, understand the world and integrate into a group.
Whether symbolic, individual or collective, and whether the rules are simple or complex, children engage in different types of learning through play: For example:
- through construction games, they discover the laws of balance;
- games with rules allow them to acquire the social skills essential to life in a group.
A balance program
Each childcare service must apply the principles of the educational program, accounting for its resources and the possibilities offered by its environment. It must adapt the program to the child's age and the period of the day when the child attends the service. The child's health, safety and well-being must always remain the home childcare provider's primary concerns.
While activities may vary from one childcare service to another, the daily educational program is balanced:
- playing indoors and outdoors;
- calm and active play;
- individual and group activities.
Thus, home childcare providers:
- • supervise the children's play and, by observing them, gather essential information to support them in other activities;
- make available the material the children needs for play suitable to their tastes and possibilities;
- support and encourage them.
Role of the parents
The educational program recognizes that parents are their children's primary educators. They are in the best position to support you. Their collaboration is invaluable to you and is essential to the child's harmonious development.
Parents can help their children in various ways:
- by taking an interest in the children's experience in childcare;
- by questioning the home childcare provider and giving the provider useful information about their child.
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