Parent Handbook

Overview

Registered under the Societies Act of Nova Scotia, the University Children’s Centre Society operates two facilities under the direction of an 11-member Board of Directors. We are licensed through the provincial Department of Community Services (see www.gov.ns.ca/coms)

Our main office is located at the South St. facility where we offer full-time education and care to children aged four months to five years.  From September through June, our Life Science Centre (LSC) location offers a morning Nursery School Program for children three to five years of age, in addition to a lunch and after school program for children five to nine years of age.  During the summer months, the Life Sciences Centre opens its doors for a full-day, school age Summer Camp.

We have an “Open Door” policy and encourage parents to come and visit, and to assist and support the programs.

Mission Statement:

The University Children’s Centre strives to offer high quality programs that embrace the principles of inclusion and diversity in an environment that is welcoming and supportive to all, where caring, well-educated staff value lifelong learning and promote excellence in the field of Early Learning and Care, and where all children are nurtured and encouraged to grow and develop to their fullest potential within their community.

Principles of Inclusion:

  • Research Based or Value Based
    • All practices, strategies and techniques are supported by empirical research.
  • Family Centered
    • Practice is designed with the child and family acknowledging the child as part of a dynamic family system.
  • Bias Free
    • The different needs and value systems of children and their families are recognized and respected.
  • Trans-disciplinary Approach to Programming
    • Team members share expertise in their own discipline and all ideas are respected and considered.
  • Developmentally/Chronologically Age Appropriate
    • Individual children enrolled participate within a chronologically age appropriate environment.
  • Full Participation
    • All families have the same range of activities and programs available.

Philosophy Statement:

The University Children’s Centre is a non-profit organization that believes children of all abilities are entitled to participate in a high quality, affordable early learning and care experience, where they are fostered within an emergent curriculum approach which adapts to individual needs and promotes positive relationships and interactions, and where reflective practice and learning from each other is at the heart of any experience.

Our programs are designed to facilitate, stimulate and maximize a child’s intellectual, physical, social and emotional development and are based on the philosophy of “learning through play.” We believe children learn through their active participation in a variety of experiences. Each classroom environment is therefore organized to accommodate large group, small group, and individual play. Activities are planned to enhance language and literacy, social interactions, movement and music, fine and gross motor skills, as well as cognitive development

Definitions

  1. A quality early learning and child care program is inclusive of and responsive to the needs of the children and families while supporting individual children’s healthy development and learning, delivered by teaching staff that possess a degree or diploma in early childhood education, professionals who are committed to their own educational and personal growth and development. (Quality Assurance and Accessibility Sub-Committee Child Care Committee of York Region, 2008)
  2. Inclusion supports the right of all children and their families regardless of age, gender, economical status, race, religion, family lifestyles and individual abilities, to have active, meaningful participation in quality child care program in their community. (Quality Assurance and Accessibility Sub-Committee Child Care Committee of York Region, 2008) (DEC/NAEYC, 2009)
  3. Diversity is the recognition of each of our characteristics and what makes us distinct from each other, including, age, language, culture, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender, abilities and religious or spiritual beliefs. (Government of Nova Scotia, 2009)
  4. Lifelong learning is a continuously supportive process which stimulates and empowers individuals to acquire all the knowledge and skills they will require throughout their lifetimes, through formal and informal education and to apply them with confidence and creativity. (Barker, 1998)
  5. Emergent Curriculum Approach is a curriculum that is constantly growing and evolving with the experiences of the children and the teachers. An emergent curriculum allows for collaborations between teachers and children while being built upon their existing interests, the curriculum planning is flexible and constantly developing making it dynamic, neither stagnant nor repetitive. The teacher is the facilitator, taking what is seen and heard to the children giving them the opportunity to discover more and construct further knowledge. Children’s learning and teachers’ thinking is made visible through varied forms of documentation. (Stacey, 2009)
  6. Reflective Practice in any profession centers on life-long learning where individuals access experiences in order to learn from them. Reflective teaching in early childhood programs means promoting ongoing discussion within teaching teams as well as the centre as a whole. The shared goal of reflective teaching is ongoing growth and learning for everyone in the program, teacher and child. (Carter & Curtis, 2008)
History

Child care at Dalhousie University began in the fall of 1967 with the formation of the University Children’s Centre. It was initially located in the university family residence, Peter Green Hall.

As the years passed, demand for child care services on the Campus continued to grow. In response to this demand, a centre at Coburg Road was opened in 1980, financed entirely by Dalhousie University.

In 1988, Dalhousie University again offered both space and financial backing for the creation of a third centre in the Life Sciences Centre, thereby expanding enrolment.

Initially all three facilities were the responsibility of the original governing body, the Halifax Student Housing Society, but as time passed, the on-campus and residence centres became more autonomous. In 1990, the Board of the Halifax Student Housing Society decided it would be more efficient to manage each centre (Peter Green Hall and Coburg / Life Sciences) as separate operations.

Following this decision, the University Children’s Centre Society was incorporated in June 1990 to operate the on-campus facilities at Coburg Road and the Life Sciences Centre. These two locations continued to be known as the University Children’s Centre.

In January 2002, the Coburg Road facility was closed and the child care centre was relocated to a new site at 6101 South Street. Again, Dalhousie University provided the support for the creation of this new facility.  Although Dalhousie University continues to provide significant support, the University Children’s Centre is completely independent and legally separate from the University.

Role of the Board of Directors

The Board of Directors of the University Children’s Centre Society may carry up to eleven (11), yet not less than five (5) members, including the Executive Director who holds full voting rights.

Meetings are usually held monthly (except in July and August).

The Board of Directors is responsible for monitoring all operations of the organization via the Executive Director, negotiating the staff Collective Agreement (with the Canadian Union of Public Employees - CUPE), establishing policy, and hiring and evaluating the Executive Director.

The Chair of the Board of Directors shall also preside as Chair of the Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the Society, which is usually held in March of each year. Parents, as full voting members of the Society, are encouraged to attend the AGM and encouraged to become involved in Board initiatives.

Parent representatives to the Board are elected each year at the AGM. If you are interested in becoming a Board member or sitting on a committee of the Board, please do not hesitate to speak to the Executive Director or any member of our Board.

A list of the names and contact numbers of all Board members is posted on the main Parent Information Board. For your information, a copy of the Bylaws of the Society may be borrowed from the Executive Director.

Parent Involvement

We have an “open door” policy and encourage parents to come and visit at any time. We welcome your comments, suggestions and support. The Centre belongs to the parents, the children, as well as our staff. The active participation and involvement of all concerned is essential in order to maintain quality and the sense of community for which we strive.

Parents are encouraged to participate in class outings (e.g. field trips, swim/gym, skating, and picnics) and are invited to volunteer in the classrooms; adding their expertise to a class project, hosting an activity, and/or supporting the children’s play (e.g. reading stories).

In addition, the Centre does host several “social” events throughout the year to which parents are encouraged to attend (e.g. seasonal parties, family picnics, and two summer field trips). Individual classrooms will also throw parties/socials where the parents and sometimes entire families are invited to attend.

Although formal Parent/Teacher meetings are scheduled in the fall and spring of each year, the teachers would be pleased to make an appointment to meet with you at a mutually convenient time to discuss your child’s progress.

As per the Day care Act and Regulations, the Centre also has a designated Parent Committee. This committee is comprised of the parent representatives on our Board of Directors, (maximum of 5), a staff representative, and the Executive Director. The list of our Board of Directors found on the main Parent Information Board, also identifies the members of the Parent Committee.  If you are interested in serving as a parent representative on our Board of Directors, please do not hesitate to speak to the Executive Director or watch for information leading up to the Society’s Annual General Meeting each spring. Such involvement does provide another avenue to work in partnership within the Centre.

Parent Information Bulletin Board

The Parent Information Bulletin Board is located in the main hallway at each centre. The following items are posted for your review:

  1. A copy of the Day Care Act and Regulations
  2. A copy of this Parent Information Handbook
  3. The licence for the facility
  4. A copy of the most recent Department of Community Services inspection report
  5. A copy of the Behaviour Guidance Policy
  6. A copy of the current menu
  7. A list of our Board of Directors, including the members of our Parent Committee,
  8. A copy of the most recent Parent Committee meeting
  9. A copy of the most recent (approved) minutes of the Board of Directors meeting.
  10. Notification of funding (e.g. grants) provided by the Department of Community Services, as required by the Minister.
  11. The Evacuation Procedures
  12. Information of Health Issues
Hours of Operation

HOURS OF OPERATION

Centre

Season

Hours of Operation

South St.

Year-round

8:00am - 5:30pm

Life Sciences

School year (Sept. through June)

Nursery School:

            9:00am - 11:45am

School Age:

            Noon - 5:30pm

Life Sciences

July / August

School age:

            8:00am - 5:30pm

The Life Science Centre may offer a full-day (9:00am-5:30pm) service for school age children during public school closures. The Nursery School is closed at these times.

Please note that the Centre does close at 5:30pm. Staff are considered off duty at that time and the premises should be vacated. Therefore, we do ask that you arrive at the Centre before that time, thus giving you the opportunity to discuss your child’s day with the teachers and exit the building by closing time.

If you are late in departing the Centre, you will be asked to sign/initial our attendance records and a fee will be charged to your monthly bill as follows:

                                                     

Time of Departure

Fee Charged        

5:30 - 5:45

         $10.00        

5:46 - 6:15

         $20.00

6:16 - 6:45

         $50.00

 

In the case of chronic late departures, parents may be asked to seek alternate child care arrangements. This Late Departure Policy was approved by the Board of Directors and may be subject to change.

Holidays    

The Centre is open year-round with the exception of the following days:

New Years Day                                       Thanksgiving

Munro Day (1st Friday in February;            Remembrance Day

 a Dalhousie University holiday)                 Christmas Eve

Good Friday                                            (early closure at 1:00pm)                    

Victoria Day                                            Christmas Day

Canada Day                                            Boxing Day

Natal Day                                                New Years Eve    

Labour Day                                             (early closure at 3:00pm)

We are also closed on any other day declared a holiday by the Federal, Provincial and/or Municipal Government.

Centre Closures (Storm Days)

In the event of a storm or inclement weather, as the information becomes available, messages are placed on our phone lines (Main Office Line: 494-7001) indicating program changes. In the event of Centre closures, public service announcements will be made on the local CBC radio station (90.5 fm). All fees will remain payable during any temporary business interruptions. Please make yourself familiar with the following list of detailed policies:

1. At any time, when Dalhousie University announces closure, the Centre is also CLOSED. When Dalhousie University announces in the early morning that it is closed, and has suspended its services, even for part of a day, the Centre is closed for the full day. Information about Dalhousie University is usually noted on its website (www.dal.ca) and main switchboard (494-2211) as well as public service announcements on CBC radio (90.5 fm).

2. When public school announces in the early morning it is closed, unless the situation warrants otherwise (see #1), we offer a full day service to our school age families, and suspend service to the Nursery School (part day, morning only program at LSC) .  Please refer to the Halifax Regional School Board web site or call the school cancellation line at 464-4636 for information. All of our other programs at our South St. facility operate as usual.

3. When public school announces that it is closing mid day, we can offer continuous service starting at noon until 5:30pm for our regular school age families. If circumstances warrant a Centre closure as well, and the children are already in our care, parents will be called to pick up the children (see #4)

4. The centre does reserve the right to close as circumstances warrant at the discretion of the Executive Director or designate. In the case of a mid-day closure, parents will be called to pick up their children as soon as possible.

Payment Of Fees

Invoices are distributed (placed on each child’s locker) at the beginning of each month. Payment can be made by cheque, money order, or pre-authorized debit. If paying by cheque or money order, payment is required by the tenth of each month. Payment by debit will be processed from your account the first working day of the month. As a non-profit organization we do rely on the timely payment of fees.  For your convenience, post-dated cheques are accepted. It is our policy to add a $20.00 handling charge to accounts which are not paid in full by the tenth of each month, as well as a $25.00 charge for returned cheques. (Please refer to the parent copy of our Financial Agreement for further details).

Payment may be made either in the Main Office or left in the mail box located outside of the Executive Director’s office at the South St. facility. A mailbox can also be found by the classroom door at the Life Sciences Centre. The teaching staff are not responsible for accepting fee payments.

Fees are payable for introductory days, vacation days, holidays, sick days, and any other scheduled day that your child does not attend.

Any modifications in payment schedule, as outlined in our Financial Agreement must first be discussed with, and authorized by, the Executive Director.

Notice of Withdrawl

As the centre is supported almost entirely by parent fees, it is essential that all classrooms remain fully enrolled at all times. Accordingly, parents are required to give one full month’s notice of withdrawal, in writing, to our Main Office.

Parents who fail to comply with this notice of withdrawal policy will be charged a full month’s fee. Please note, in such a case, parents are not eligible for the provincial fee subsidy.

Roles and Responsibilities

Executive Director

The Executive Director is charged with managing all aspects of the Centre, devising (in consultation with the appropriate committees and personnel), and executing the policies of the University Children’s Centre.

The Executive Director is responsible to the Board of Directors of the University Children Centre Society and responsible for the following:

  • The hiring, supervision, evaluation and dismissal of staff, and for administering the Collective Agreement. Managing all financial aspects of the organization, including invoicing parents for monthly fees.
  • Ensuring that the Centre conforms to all licensing requirements as established by the Provincial Department of Community Services.
  • Supervising and monitoring classroom programs.

Program Coordinator

The Program Coordinator is responsible to the Executive Director and promotes the implementation of the Centre’s philosophy of inclusion by executing the following:

  •  Applying early childhood development knowledge
  •  Articulating the philosophy to target audiences
  •  Reflecting current research in making program decisions

The Program Coordinator is responsible for the following:

  • Evaluating programs using recognized rating scales
  • Providing program support to staff
  • Guiding staff in the development of program goals and objectives
  • Accessing resources to meet the needs and gaps in the program
  • Researching and providing resources and educational materials for staff and families, related to programs of inclusion and/or to children’s specific needs

The Program Coordinator also determines professional development and training needs, researching a variety of professional development opportunities, and networks with colleagues and other professionals.

Teaching Staff

The teaching staff are responsible for the day-to-day education and care of the children.

The teaching staff are responsible for planning and implementing activities which are developmentally appropriate and are based on the needs and/or interests of the children, setting realistic behaviour expectations for each child, and maintaining a safe and healthy environment.

Teaching staff maintain a Child Portfolio as well as complete semi-annual Progress Summaries for each child in their group and facilitate Parent/Teacher meetings for the purpose of discussing the children’s development.

All permanent teaching staff members hold a degree or diploma in Early Childhood Education and maintain a valid First Aid/CPR certificate.

Support Staff

The centre employs a MAIN OFFICE RECEPTIONIST who reports to the Executive                   Director.  The Receptionist is responsible for providing secretarial, clerical, and                                administrative support in order to ensure the University Children’s Centre can provide                     services in an effective and efficient manner, promoting the provision of quality early childhood education and care.

The Centre employs a part-time COOK who is responsible for the procurement and preparation of lunch and snack foods, in accordance with Centre policy. The cook is required to maintain Food-Handler credentials, as recommended by the provincial Department of Agriculture and Fisheries, the government body which inspects and licences our food services.

The Centre employs a part-time BOOKKEEPER who works with the Executive Director on matters related to payroll and statutory remittances, the monthly, quarterly and year-end financial statements, monthly parent fee invoices and annual receipts, and accounts payable.

The Centre maintains a roster of SUBSTITUTE TEACHERS to work in the classrooms in the event of a staff absence. 

The University Children’s Centre is also pleased to support the field of Early Childhood Education by providing practicum opportunities for STUDENT TEACHERS as well as act as a host for students conducting research studies. It should be noted that all research studies are reviewed by the Executive Director and participation is completely voluntary. Parents and children invited to participate in a specific study will be asked sign a consent form and involvement may be terminated at any time.

All staff value input from parents, and encourage discussion, comments, and suggestions. If concerns or questions do arise, please do not hesitate to voice them.

Staff/Child Ratios

Staff : child ratios are legislated by the Day Care Act and Regulations of Nova Scotia.

The University Children’s Centre, however, aims to operate with more favourable ratios than those legislated, thus demonstrating our commitment to quality early childhood education and care.

Age Group

Legislated Ratio

 Staff : Child

UCC Ratio

Staff : Child

Under 18 months (Infants)

1 : 4

1 :3

18 months to 2.5 yrs

(Toddlers)

1 : 6

1 : 5

2.5 yrs - 3.5 yrs

(Toddler/Preschool Mixed group)

1:6

1:6

3.5 yrs to 5 yrs (Preschool full day programs)

1 : 8

1 : 7

3 years to 5 years (part day - Nursery School - program)

1 : 12

1 : 8

School age

1 : 15

1 : 10

Introductory Days

In an effort to help the children become comfortable at the Centre, we have established an Introductory Period for all new full time children and their families. It has been our experience that children who are eased into a new classroom environment do feel more secure and supported. The Introductory Period also offers parents the opportunity to get to know our teaching staff and the other families in the program as well as observe a morning’s routine.  Therefore the following schedule has been established:              

Day 1 9:00am - 11:00am  The child participates in all activities secure in the company of a parent. The parent observes all activities and has the opportunity to discuss pertinent issues with the teaching staff.
Day 2 9:00am - 12:30pm The child participates in all activities up to and including lunch.The parent observes initially, then leaves (9:30 am - 11:15 am). The parent then returns to observe and participate in the lunch routine.
Day 3

9:00am - 2:30pm**

**Depending on age group

The child participates in all activities up to and including our quiet/rest time.

Day 4 Full Day The parent is asked to be available (within phone reach) and may be asked to return to the Centre to assist the child if necessary.

       

What to Bring

Children ought to wear comfortable play clothes and footwear, suitable for both indoor and outdoor play, so they may participate fully in all aspects of the program.

Our weather is changeable; therefore, we do ask that parents keep at least one complete change of clothes on hand, in your child’s locker.

As well, a sunhat, sunscreen, extra pair of shorts, sneakers, light weight sweater, light weight  pants, raincoat and rain boots are essentials during the summer months. No flip flops or sandals please.

A snowsuit, mittens, hat and boots are essentials during the winter months. Children must also have a pair of sneakers for indoor play. Boots or sock feet are not permitted in the classrooms for health and safety reasons (e.g. Fire Drills).

Splash pants and rain boots are essentials year round!  No umbrellas please!

Other items (full time programs only):

                  Photo for locker,

                  Sleep toy (optional) and

                  Blanket for quiet/rest time

                  Diapers, wipes, diaper cream, bottles and formula (as required)

Please put your child’s name on each piece of clothing and footwear brought into the centre.

We do not encourage children to bring in personal toys from home. This can cause misunderstanding among children as well as distress if breakage or loss occurs. We thank you for leaving “toys from home” at home.

Arrival and Departure

The security and safety of all the children is a priority for us. Therefore, we ask for your support by:

1. Providing any help your child may require in undressing upon arrival and dressing for the outdoors upon departure.

2. Accompanying your child into the classroom so the teacher may greet your child and welcome him/her into the group.

3. Being as consistent as possible with your child’s arrival and departure times.

4. Providing, in writing (form provided) a list of those persons authorized to pick up your child (must be over the age of 12 years).

Group activities begin at 9:30am and so we do ask that the children to arrive before that time. We would like the opportunity to welcome you and your child in an unhurried manner, to exchange any pertinent information, as well as to provide your child with the opportunity and time to greet friends. A smooth transition into his/her day is important. Experience has shown that arrivals after 9:30 am during a group or transition time can be very upsetting or unsettling for all the children as well as have a disruptive influence on program plans. The Centre reserves the right to refuse admission to families who frequently arrive after 9:30am.

If it is not possible to arrive before 9:30am due to a medical or dental appointment, or if your child will be absent for the day, please give us a call (494-7001). The information may have a bearing on program plans, staffing arrangements, snack and lunch preparations, and/or the required recording and reporting procedures.

The main entrance gate into the South St. Centre playground is locked between 9:30am and 5:00pm, or anytime the playground is in use, for the children’s safety. Please ensure, when you enter or exit the grounds, the gate is CLOSED SECURELY behind you.

Health Issues

Since the health and safety needs of individual children do vary, we require that a Health and Social History Questionnaire and, if appropriate, an Allergy History and/or a Special Medical Condition Form be completed and submitted to the Main Office before the first day of attendance.  It is also important for us to maintain accurate and up-to-date immunization records for each child. If your child does have, or develops, a chronic health issue, or if/when there is a change in your child’s immunization record, please notify our Main Office.

Illness:

In the best interests of your child and the other families, your child should not attend if ill. That is, if your child shows the following symptoms of a communicable disease:

  • Fever of 101 F/ 38 C or higher
  • Diarrheal stool which cannot be contained in a diaper, or a toilet trained child who cannot control bowel movements
  • Vomiting
  • Persistent cough
  • Breathing difficulty
  • Rash other than allergic or diaper rash, and/or rash with fever

If a child is unable to participate fully in the daily activities of the Centre, that child may not be admitted into the Centre.

The Department of Community Services and the Public Health Services have issued very specific procedures on this matter. As per their directives:

  • Children are to be symptom-free for 24 hours, without the use of medication, before returning to the Centre.
  • Staff are required to check children on daily arrival for signs of illness. 
  • Parents are required to phone the Centre (494-7001) before 9:30am and state the reason for the absence including specific symptoms if your child is ill.
  • Children with symptoms, as listed above, will not be permitted to stay at the Centre. That is, if your child becomes ill during the day, you will be called and asked to pick up your child.

A copy of Strategies for Prevention of Spreading of Communicable Disease from the Department of Community Services is posted on our main Parent Information Board.

Medications:

Prescription and non-prescription medications may be administered by regular staff as ordered, and only as ordered by a physician, in writing. All medications must be in the original pharmacy container.  Parents will be required to complete and sign a form authorizing UCC to administer the medication.

Allergies:

All reasonable efforts shall be made to accommodate children with allergies. However, we cannot guarantee an allergen-free environment.

Health and Safety:

Balloons may not be brought into the Centre.

In keeping with the Dalhousie Community and out of respect for the health of all families and staff, we do ask that you respect our “No Scents is Good Sense” policy. As well, smoking is NOT permitted on Dalhousie University property.

Nutrition

The University Children’s Centre follows a 4-week rotation menu which is designed to meet the Food and Beverage Criteria for Regulated Child Care Settings (see www.gov.ns.ca/coms for details). A copy is also available for viewing from the Executive Director).

A light snack, lunch, and another light snack are served daily at approximately 9:30am, 11:45am (12:20 for School age group), and 3:00pm.

All reasonable efforts shall be made to meet dietary restrictions due to food allergies/sensitivities or for reasons of culture, the Centre is unable to offer food alternatives for any other reason.

A copy of the menu is posted on our main Parent Information Board.

Establishing healthy eating habits is one of our goals as well as maintaining a healthy environment for all the children. Many children at the Centre have severe life threatening allergies; therefore, it is our policy that NO OUTSIDE FOODS be brought into the Centre. Exceptions to this may include such items as infant formula, soy milk, or other such items which may be required to meet specific dietary restrictions and are beyond the capacity of the centre to provide. However, these items must comply with the Food and Beverage Criteria (Department of Community Services) as well as our Life Threatening Allergies protocol. Arrangement in such cases is to be approved by administration. The Centre does reserve the right to refuse to serve foods which were not prepared by Centre staff.

We aim to provide a relaxing and enjoyable meal environment which:

  1. Is responsive to children’s cues around hunger, providing meals and snacks at appropriate times
  2. Encourages children to respond to hunger and feelings of fullness. That is, children are not forced to finish food that has been served.
  3. Allows Infants to explore their food, and feed themselves

Breastfeeding:

We welcome mothers to breastfeed anywhere in the centre. However, we do provide a quiet area in the Infant sleep room (South St) and a space in the office/observation area at the LSC.

Behavior Guidance Policy

The Executive Director, regular staff, students, substitutes, and volunteers must behave in a manner that does not harm any child who is attending the day care, and in particular must not do or permit any of the following:

  1. Use corporal punishment, including:
  2. Striking a child directly or with any physical object, and
  3. Shaking, shoving, spanking, and other forms of aggressive physical contact;
  4. Require or force a child to repeat physical movements;
  5. Use harsh, humiliating, belittling, or degrading responses of any form, whether verbal, emotional or physical;
  6. Confine or isolate a child;
  7. Deprive a child of basic needs, including food, shelter, clothing and bedding;
  8. Offer food to reinforce positive behaviour, withhold food as a consequence for inappropriate behaviour, nor use food as a reward for completing a task or finishing a meal (e.g., dessert will not be withheld if the child does not finish the main meal).

In guiding behaviour, staff will support a strong positive relationship with the children which includes enjoyment of and respect for the children as individuals. In promoting the development of a child’s self-esteem, self-confidence, self-control and self-discipline staff/volunteers will:

  1. Model positive behaviour, including voice tone,
  2. Give  direction or logical consequences, rather than punishment,
  3. State clear limits and involve the children in setting those limits as developmentally appropriate, and support the development of conflict resolution and problem-solving skills,
  4. Recognize, acknowledge and respect the children’s feelings, and encourage children to express those feelings to both adults and peers,
  5. Redirect a child or group of children if inappropriate behaviour persists, and support/facilitate  participation in another activity,
  6. State what a child can do rather than what he/she cannot do.

The foregoing is consistent with the Nova Scotia Department of Community Services Behaviour Guidance Policy guidelines and Regulations. This Policy Statement is posted on the Parent Bulletin Board at all times. In addition, we require all staff to review and sign a copy of the Behaviour Guidance Policy on an annual basis.

Curriculum and Program Information

The room environment, the structure and consistency of the daily routine, and the activities facilitated and/or initiated by the teachers at small group, large group, and individual play times all contribute to the overall quality of an early childhood education and care program.

To that end, at the University Children’s Centre, children are encouraged to make choices and to become actively involved in a variety of experiences. It is this active involvement, through meaningful self-discovery, which facilitates and maximizes the learning process.

The teaching staff prepare written program plans based on the developmental needs and interests of the children, as we strive to support your child’s growth. Daily plans as well as other pertinent information (e.g. the daily routine, program topics of interest, field trips) are posted on the bulletin board by each classroom.

Infant, Toddler and Romper families may take note of the daily information sheets in your child’s locker (we would be pleased to copy these sheets for you, upon request).

Bi-annual progress summaries are completed for each child (except School Age) and Parent / Teacher meetings may be scheduled to review these reports. A Progress Summary sheet will be made available to you in advance of your meeting so that you have the opportunity to consider the report and jot down any questions, concerns, and/or goals you wish to discuss. In addition, a “Memory Book” portfolio will be developed which documents through photos and anecdotal stories, your child’s development as well as participation in the class (except School Age). This portfolio, in binder format, will then be yours to take with you when your child moves to an older age group or withdraws from the centre.

The University Children’s Centre is also pleased to offer a variety of extra-curricular activities.

In the fall and spring, the Rompers and Preschoolers enjoy the use of the Dalplex Pool and Dalhousie University (Studley) gym facilities. In the winter, Preschoolers have the opportunity to go skating at the Dalhousie Arena and Rompers make use of the gym facilities. In both the spring and fall the Toddlers also have the opportunity to use campus gym facilities. In the summer months, the children enrolled in the LSC (school age) Summer Camp enjoy the use of both the Dalplex pool and the University gym facilities, on a weekly basis.

In addition, the Centre hosts an optional music program at our South Street location.  We would be pleased to provide you with more detailed information about the program and the cost.

Closing Remarks

We do thank you for taking the time to review this parent handbook.  It is our goal to work in partnership with you as we strive to provide high quality early childhood education and care programs.