Sunshine Dayhome Mission Statement
Sunshine Dayhome's mission is to fully engage and meet the needs of all children in care, with a whole-child focus including head, heart, and hands, by following Waldorf ideals.
Sunshine Dayhome's mission has four broad goals:
The efforts here at Sunshine Dayhome are designed to achieve these ends:
Sunshine Dayhome achieves its goals by:
Statement of Philosophy and Values
Children need to be nurtured and protected in order to optimally grow and develop, and Sunshine Dayhome offers a Waldorf child care environment in order to fully meet those needs. I believe that children are intrinsically drawn to those experiences that will best foster their growth and development. For this reason, I follow an emergent curriculum, where the children's current areas of interest are supported by the environment and activities offered. I believe that my childcare program offers a balance of stimulating, enriching opportunities and warm, soothing ones. I believe that children must feel loved, valued, accepted, supported, and cared for in order to thrive. I believe that this childcare program is enhanced by the presence of the families, and that this blend of family and childcare promotes optimal development of the whole child. Each child is special and unique, and will be encouraged to develop at their own pace.
Integration to Childcare
The first few days of a child's entry into care have a huge effect on their experience. To ease the transition, there are several steps that are followed here:
1. The child attends the initial interview to see the environment and other children while we talk.
2. One or both parents joins us with the child for an afternoon in the week preceding the start of care.
3. On the morning of the first day of care, one or both parents stay for a few minutes to help their child settle comfortably. Once the child is happily playing, the parent says good-bye and leaves.
4. Future drop-offs are brief and pleasant. Long, drawn-out, emotional good-byes let your child know that you are worried about their time here. They will become upset and worried as well. Simply tell them you'll be thinking of them and know they'll have a wonderful day and you'll be back soon. The give them a kiss and hug, so everyone can separate still smiling!
Transition and Items from Home
To help ease the transition from home into care, I ask that you bring a small, favorite blanket of your child's for nap time. If they wish to bring a lovey (treasured non-electronic stuffed animal, blankie, etc.), that is a welcome and excellent transitional tool. I invite you to bring in a picture of your family, so your child will be able to see your faces and feel your presence here, even while you're at work.
Additional items to remain here include diapers, and wipes, and a change of clothes.
As Sunshine Dayhome is a play-based program, we get messy! We play with water, play in the dirt, eat with gusto, and paint on a regular basis. We are outside every day, so the children need to arrive in outerwear that reflects the weather (jackets, rain boots, etc.). Please help support your child's motor development and sense of self competence and independence by supplying articles of clothing that are easy to use. These include items like shoes with Velcro and pants that slip on and off easily. Do not send your child in complicated outfits that require the removal of everything in order to change a diaper - some days I have up to four children using diapers, and this can really cut into our play time.
My hours are Tuesday to Friday, 8:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. As my family often has commitments in the evenings, this needs to be respected and maintained. If a child is picked up after 5:00 p.m., a warning will be issued. Any late pick-ups in the future will be charged a fee of $1 per minute, to be paid when the child arrives the next day for care.
Sunshine Dayhome is very active. We are out and about in the community and parks every day, and have many planned and spontaneous adventures together. In order for your child to fully benefit from this childcare program, they need to arrive by 9 a.m.. If your child is not here by this time, it is assumed that they are not coming on that day.
Children need balanced, nutritious meals in order to thrive. I support their optimal growth and development by feeding them three food groups at every snack and four food groups at every lunch. I make almost everything by hand, following a whole foods plan. We eat very little processed food and almost no white starches (flour, sugar).
Morning snack is at 9 or 9:30, lunch is around 11:30 or noon, and afternoon snack happens between 3:30 and 4 p.m. If your child will not be here until after these times, you need to ensure that they are fed before you drop them off. If you wish to bring something to add to our diet, please make sure that the fat and sugar content is low, and that there is enough to go around.
We practice monthly fire drills together. These include a sounding of the alarm and an exit through the door to our meeting point (the back gate). This way, the children know what to expect and are less likely to be frightened in the unlikely event of an actual fire. Additionally, I review with the older children other fire safety tips like Stop Drop and Roll, don't open a door if the handle is hot, and crawl if there is thick smoke.
Sunshine Dayhome is a Well Childcare facility. As children can get sick suddenly and unexpectedly, please ensure that you have backup childcare in place. The dayhome has the right to refuse care to any child who is deemed too ill to be here. Parents must notify the dayhome immediately if their child is diagnosed with a contagious condition, so that the other families can be notified. Let's do what we can to ensure the health of all children and families of Sunshine Dayhome. Please do not bring your child into care if they exhibit any of the following:
-Contagious disease like chickenpox, conjunctivitis (pink eye), impetigo, or rubella
-Fever over 37.3 degrees Celsius axillary (armpit) or 37.5 degrees Celsius orally (you need to take their temperature; they need to be fever-free for 24 hours before returning)
-Nausea, diarrhea, or vomiting (they need to be symptom-free for 24 hours before returning)
-Severe cold and/or cough
If a child exhibits any of these symptoms here, the parents or emergency contact will be notified to pick the child up immediately. The child will be kept as comfortable as possible, isolated from the other children for their protection, until they are picked up.
In the event of a medical emergency, parents or emergency contact will be notified immediately unless the injury or illness is life-threatening, in which case first priority will be to call 911. Please ensure that all of your contact information is up to date so you can be readily contacted in such an event.
Medication (including over-the-counter drugs) can only be administered without a current doctor's note. In addition, all medications need to be in their original container labelled with the child's name, doctor's name, and phone number. Detailed instructions as to the medication administration must be included as well. If the medication is new to the child, it needs to be administered at home for the first 24 to 48 hours so that the parents can closely observe the child for side effects or adverse reactions.
Vaccinations do have the potential for serious side effects, which may occur after the vaccine is administered. For these reasons, please ensure that your child's vaccinations are scheduled for a time when you can care for your child afterward. The best time to do this is often towards the end of the end of the day, preferably on a Friday. This way any adverse reactions can be handled at home where the child is most comfortable.
Taking Time Off
When a child will not be attending care because of illness, holiday, or other reasons, the full fee will be charged, as it is not possible for me to fill that spot. If the dayhome needs to close for a day, the parents will not be charged. Occasionally, the dayhome will need to open late or close early due to medical appointments which cannot be scheduled on weekends. Please rest assured that I make every effort to have these appointments booked first thing in the morning or last thing of the day, so that the dayhome can remain open as much as possible. My family and I also follow a very healthy lifestyle to ensure that illness and taking time off for health reasons are kept to the bare minimum.
Sunshine Dayhome is closed for all statutory holidays, including New Year's Day, Family Day, Good Friday, Easter Monday, Victoria Day, Canada Day, August's Civic Holiday, Labour Day, Thanksgiving Day, Remembrance Day, Christmas Day, and Boxing Day. In addition, I take two weeks paid vacation every year, and usually close for a few days over the Christmas break. I plan my vacation time far in advance, so families can choose to take their vacations at the same time if they wish, and thus avoid needing to pay for childcare twice during that time.
Families are required to give two week's written notice to terminate care. I will give a month's written notice to end care, unless there are extenuating circumstances.
Electronic Media Use
Sunshine Dayhome is a Waldorf program. We enjoy a TV-free environment. The children do not have access to computers or video games. I ask that these items remain at home. If these or other electronic toys (flashy lights, beeping noises) arrive here, they will be placed in a safe place until the end of the day. Thank you for helping maintain our atmosphere of peaceful, enjoyable, creative play.
This care center follows a play-based curriculum. Children learn through play, and true play has certain characteristics that are upheld here. The characteristics of true play are:
-intrinsically motivated (play is child-initiated and child-led)
-unstructured (there are no rules for play, only for respecting the environment and rights of others)
-enough time (there needs to be time permitted for children to enter into the world of play, and generally this is a minimum of one hour)
-active (the children are not observing, but doing)
-process-oriented (there is no end product here; the focus is on the moment)
-involves familiar objects and environments
-an element of make-believe is present
While I do offer activities to the children on a daily basis, like cooking, crafts, Play-dough, etc., for the greater part of the day they are engaged in true play. I facilitate as needed, by helping children get involved in play and smoothing out issues as they occur. My role is predominantly that of a reliable, observant facilitator, not instructor. Because children learn through play and all of its aspects, their development in all areas is best fostered by allowing them the time and space necessary to interact in a deep and meaningful way with their world. When schedules become to busy or fixed, the children suffer. This is why we never do "educational" activities like flashcards or formal instructional lessons. Instead, their creativity and intelligence is nurtured through play, and their learning is experienced through this as well.
No matter what their age, people need a balance of activity and rest periods in order to thrive. After our active mornings, every child is required to lie down and have a 45-minute rest period. If they are awake at the end of that time, they are offered a quiet activity. If they do fall asleep, they will enjoy a full afternoon nap.
If children under age two are engaging in inappropriate behaviour (hurting another child, screaming inside, etc.), they will be redirected and, if necessary, repositioned to another area of the room. Children aged two to five are beginning to develop awareness of cause and effect, so different approaches are taken. If someone is hurt, on purpose or by accident, I talk about how that behaviour hurt them, how upset they are, and how we can help that child feel better (usually by stroking their arm gently or giving them a hug). This helps them develop empathy and an awareness of the perceptions of others. If the behaviour persists, they will be asked to engage in a different activity until they feel they can respect other people or the property. In regard to cleaning up a mess or fixing something they have altered, these simple steps are followed:
1. I describe what they are doing, and my concern with it (I see you are having a lot of fun playing with water. It is all over the floor. I am worried someone may slip and get hurt).
2. I ask them to fix the problem (Please clean up the water on the floor), and then pause to give them a chance to start cleaning it.
3. If they have not started cleaning, I tell them, "You can decide where to start, or I can tell you where start", or, "You can start cleaning it up, or I can help you start cleaning it up"(by gently guiding their hand over the area with a cloth).
In this way, the consequence (cleaning the mess up) is the outcome. There is no need for bribery, time-outs, or any other discipline.
Older children have more awareness of the perceptions of others. For conflict scenarios with older preschoolers and school-aged children, we engage in mediation. Each child has the opportunity to explain what happened, in their own words. The children are encouraged to come up with a compromise, a "no-lose solution". I may suggest ideas to try if they can't think of any.
We don't say sorry. Children do not learn from this method, and also think that with one simple word anything can be forgiven and forgotten. Instead, they help the other person feel better, with kind words or a gentle touch. Again, the focus is on learning from experiences, realizing the effects of our actions, and making reparations after an incident. Corporal punishment, shame and embarrassment, and verbal put-downs are never used here.
Again, the focus is on what children can learn from their experiences, and teaching them the skills to be self-sufficient, confident, and capable individuals. I look for teachable moments throughout the day and use those as opportunities to scaffold further growth and development in the various developmental domains (social, emotional, physical, cognitive, and spiritual).