2015 SEASONS GREETING! FROM SUNDOWNERS – A LOOK BACK
One of the pleasures of the holiday season is the chance to say thank you to all of our wonderful and dedicated employees at Sundowners. During this season, we take time to reflect upon the good times we had and the hard work and shared benefits of providing high quality child care programs to all the children and families we service.
As we look back on the past year, we can reflect upon the many changes that have affected us all as an organization as well as personally. We truly have had a very busy but productive year following up on some of the recommendations outlined in the organizational review that was presented to us in 2014. One of our biggest challenges of the organizational review was to look at ways to modernize the current programs and the services we were offering. With that in mind and the information that was collected from the “parent survey” we were able to move forward and build upon the parents suggestions regarding more intentional and specialized programming for the older school age children. This lead to the development of new programming ideas and methodology when working with the 8 to 12 year olds and a new Youth Development Program Manual that was produced exclusively for Sundowners. We have worked very hard together over the past year attending specialized professional learning opportunities in order to develop our skills and abilities and approaches when it comes to programming for the older school age children. We are very excited to be able to present phase two of the Youth Development Program that will be introduced in the New Year and will include a second manual titled, Youth Development Program Kits – Teacher Booklets & Guides. These new YDP Kits include a variety of specialized items such as K’nex for exploring wind and water energy, laws of motion, solar power, pulleys and levers, science and electricity, magnets and machines and many, many more that can be used to expand the programming and learning for the 8 to 12 year olds in our programs. Look for new training, learning and development opportunities in the New Year that will be offered to RECE’s working with the older school age children in the after school programs.
Another significant aspect of the modernization of Sundowners included a new website that went live and fully operational in the spring of 2015. The new look includes a new colour scheme and logo, program and service information updates, a “news release” bulletin for posts, the parent handbook and registration information, a staff portal, and the most up to date community resources and direct website links to all of the most recent Ministry of Education documents. We will continue to develop and update the Sundowners website as needed and in order to ensure it is user friendly and informative.
Also a new and welcomed change was the announcement by the Ontario government this past Fall, through the Ministry of Education regarding the new Child Care & Early Years Act that came into effect September 1, 2015. From that we now have a new Child Care Centre Licensing Manual that replaced the outdated Day Nurseries Act (DNA), establishing new rules governing child care in Ontario. One of the changes under the new ACT, requires all licensed child care centres to display a decal that identifies them as licensed by the government of Ontario. You can look for Sundowners decals which are displayed at all of our locations usually at our own entrance or the main entrance doors of the school. There are many positive changes that affect school based child care which you can find in the new Child Care Centre Licensing Manual that is now available at all Sundowners locations for your review and reference.
LOOKING FORWARD, 2016
Along with the new Child Care and Early Years Act, the Ministry of Education is authorized to issue policy statements regarding programming and pedagogy for the purpose of guiding operators of child care and early years programs and services in the development of their program and services. This policy statement is made under the authority of the Ministry of Education and names “How Does Learning Happen? Ontario’s Pedagogy for the Early Years” as the document to be used for the purpose of guiding licensed child care programs through this process. Sundowners will be using these regulations that guide and support program development, pedagogy and practices intended to strengthen the quality of programs, and ensure high quality experiences that lead to positive outcomes in relation to children’s learning, development, health and well-being.
Starting in the New Year Sundowners will be working together with all our employees to set out a shared understanding of children, families, and ourselves as educators by reflecting on our own programs and practices to support children’s learning. How Does Learning Happen? doesn’t mean doing more but what you are already doing with a different focus. It’s about being aware of what you’re doing and why you’re doing it?
Mark your calendars…save the date…and look for further announcements in the New Year for all the wonderful professional learning and development opportunities coming up.
Thank you to all Sundowners employees, children and families for a great year, and we wish you all the best as we embark on 2016. Have a wonderful and safe holiday season. See you in the New Year!
Sundowners Board of Directors…Wishing you all a Happy Holiday Season and a Happy New Year!