Project Profile: Kids Childcare And Preschool
The ‘Kids Childcare and Preschool’ may have a simple name, but this incredible organization has a beautifully multi-faceted approach to childcare and early learning. The environment they have created is beautiful – as you can see from the photos below – but their primarily objective was to design a space for the kids in their care to feel safe, loved and naturally at home. They really put the children at the center of everything they do and every decision they make. We love that even their commitment statement is addressed to the children:
The Co-Founder and Co-CEO, Areti Gagaoudakis, also known as the ‘Chief Kids Officer’, set up The Kids Childcare + Preschool in Ontario, Canada, as an inquiry-based and learn-through-play childcare centre, offering an Infant, Toddler, Junior Preschooler and a Senior Preschooler Program. They use Canadian play-based learning and the Reggio Emilia approaches to facilitate learning, cultivate creativity, and help their kids develop their curiosity and confidence.
‘Children have an innate love of learning and are rich in potential. One of our primary goals at KIDS is to prepare our students to be lifelong learners from a very young age. Children feel valued when they are allowed to assume responsibility for their learning. At KIDS, we will nurture each child’s learning journey through play and inquiry-based experiences. This approach forms a solid foundation upon which to build confident, curious and creative children. Our students rotate through multiple learning environments including culinary, art, science, and dramatic play. This approach ensures daily exposure to STEAM-based learning for science, technology, engineering, the arts, and mathematics while developing both problem-solving and critical thinking skills.’
To support this work, they have chosen these Five Educational Pillars:
Learn Through Play
‘It is easy to think of play in terms of designated ‘play activities’ such as tag, soccer, or playing in the sandbox, and to think of work in terms of ‘tasks” like raking leaves, folding towels or wiping tables. In fact, all of these are considered ‘play’ activities by children. Historically, play has been viewed as a frivolous break from important endeavours like working and learning. Research tells us that a child’s ability to fully and freely engage in play is essential to their learning, productivity and overall development. We believe life is a journey and not a race. We create opportunities for exploration, creativity and use of imagination. Growth and development are unique to each individual and are sensitive to each child’s personal developmental clock.’
‘The Reggio Emilia approach to early childhood education was developed in Italy over 70 years ago. It is inquiry-based and values each child as strong, capable and resilient, rich with wonder and knowledge. Children are capable of constructing their own learning. Every child possesses deep curiosity that drives their interest to understand their world and their place within it. Their interest compels them to investigate and understand more and more. Children form an understanding of themselves and their place in the world through their interactions and relationships with others. The center’s environment is considered the ‘third teacher’. Educators/Superheroes will purposefully organize, support and plan the various spaces for children’s exploration and discovery. We place a strong focus on social collaboration and working in groups, where each child is an equal participant whose thoughts and questions are valued. Children search out knowledge through their own investigations and become their own knowledge makers.’
Here they provide a combination of cooking classes, learning where food comes from, and experimenting with ingredients.
Life Skills and Health and Fitness
‘Our outdoor playground is the perfect environment for our kids to run, explore, learn and always have fun! Our center-wide sound system is made to measure for our special dance parties. We all brush our teeth after every meal and every child has their own toothbrush.’
Standing for: Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Crafts and Mathematics. ‘Our students rotate through multiple learning environments including culinary, art, science, dramatic play. This ensures daily exposure to STEAM-based learning while developing both problem-solving and critical thinking skills.’
The Kids Childcare + Preschool is an exceptional place. You can just feel the love and honor the founders and educators have for the children in their care. For the Natural Pod team it was such a joy to help design, create and bring to life such an amazing environment to support these young learners in their play and learning.
We hope you enjoy and find inspiration in these lovely photos and the sweet video as well. Thank you to Kids Childcare + Preschool.