Welcome to The University Children's Centre!
The University Children's Centre is a non-profit organization, that provides high-quality, affordable childcare. Our programs are designed to facilitate, stimulate and maximize a child's intellectual, physical, social and emotional development.
REFLECTION IN PRACTICE LEADS TO NEW LOGO...
In June 2014, Sarah Silver, Executive Director of University Children’s Centre joined several other Halifax colleagues at The London Bridge Child Care Services “Leadership Institute and Study Tour: Supporting Reflective Practice through Pedagogical Leadership”.
Sarah returned to the team at University Children’s Centre excited to share the thinking she had at this Institute. We started with naming and discussing core values. We dug deep and named those we could all buy into. Some were easy, like “Genuine, Meaningful, Caring, Fun”. We struggled with words like nurture versus foster, which described us as an organization.
Our Program Coordinator, Deb Malbeuf and Sarah met after we had these beginning conversations and realized that we needed to STOP, PAUSE and breathe. We were excited to have these conversations but wanted to make sure that we gave the right amount of time for staff to linger in these ideas. We wanted to figure out what was our next step. We wanted to go back to the children and think from their perspective.
Our next time meeting we had genuine conversations around our image of children. This conversation gave huge insight to our likenesses in what we believe of children. It gave opportunities for teachers who do not always get to work in this way to do so. Through a world café process we were able to come to agreements of what we believe is true of children.
Over the summer staff were challenged to work as a team to come up with a statement, phrase or words that envelope their team’s image of a child. In September teachers gave us their ideas in writing. The words of the teams were very similar. Deb and Sarah collected the information and presented it back to staff.
We ask each member of our team to rate the words they wrote about children. These responses were collected and compiled into a top 7 list. We then wrote this statement by stringing all the ideas together.
“Children are regarded as capable and unique individuals. Their ideas, information and emotions need to be received with respect. Children deserve the opportunity to build the foundation to grow to their fullest potential through exploration, play and risk taking.”
This process led us to wanting to share more than words; we wanted to create a symbol. A symbol that could represent our statement, the work we do with families and children, through our program and community. We had many conversations about what that image might be, we all agreed after much thought that a tree represented roots, foundation, growth, reflection, pathways and experience.
Next, we wrote the statement we agreed true for children above the computers in the resource room. We then searched through over 10,000 images to find over 2,500 images that represented the statement we created. First, these photos were printed as tiny thumbnails and then sorted by colour into bowls of red, purple, pink, green, yellow, blue, orange and rainbow.
We knew we had something special going here, but wanted to involve the children more. Deb and Sarah then offered paper gift bags filled with materials of a certain colour hue as an invitation for each teacher. Every teacher offered the children in their groups the materials in a different way.
Sarah then drew what we considered to be a very reflective tree on 14 legal size pieces of paper taped together. We met again as an entire staff. We revisited the important work we did around image of children and realized that we needed to rework some of the words we agreed upon. Our statement became clearer. The art that was created was then scanned and printed into tiny thumbnails and colour sorted.
“Children are capable, curious, and unique individuals. Their ideas, thoughts, and emotions are received with respect. Children have the right to grow to their full potential through exploration, play, and risk taking.”
Next, we invited each person to help create our image. Some staff glued, some cut, some sorted colours further, some discussed and observed. Within an hour and forty five minutes we transformed a plain tree into an image which represented the University Children’s Centre.
We took this huge image and cut it into smaller pieces, which was a very difficult thing to do! Next, we scanned the sections and had them digitally drawn together. This image represents more than just what we wish for children, it has become our logo.
A logo that is more than just a visual representation of our organization but a collection of images that were thoughtfully snipped glued and intertwined by dedicated, staff who believe the same of each other as they do of children.
We happliy unveiled this log at a parent open house. Check out the DalNews article on the event! See Dal News Article
We have invited families and staff to now paint small clay tiles beginning at our Annual General Meeting. All families will be given the opportunity to paint a clay tile as a part of their orientation with our program. These tiles will become a part of walls and even after families leave our program, their legacy will remain.
This process, while is not over by any means, became something more than identifying values. It is a gift we gave each other. A gift that allowed us to grow stronger together and work towards living the words we know are true of children.
We have watched our teachers and support staff grow to understand that they too are capable, curious, and unique individuals. They receive ideas, thoughts and emotions from their colleagues and children with respect. They each embrace their right to grow to their full potential through exploration, play and risk taking. We are so proud of the work we do each day with children, families and each other.