Foundations for Learning at Emmanuel

“Through play and inquiry, young children practice ways of learning and interacting with the world around them that they will apply throughout their lives. Problem solving and critical thinking, communication and collaboration, creativity and imagination, initiative and citizenship are all capacities vital for success throughout school and beyond.” (HDLH, pg.15, Fullan 2013)

 Experiences, activities, and events occur in carefully designed inclusive indoor and outdoor environments that foster children’s well-being, learning and development, our goal is to support meaningful participation for every child.

 Learning is expressed through Pedagogical Documentation where educators observe, record and document the learning processes in collaboration with children and families. Learning begins with an informed understanding of what children are developmentally ready to be learning and how children learn effectively.

 Our curriculum, indoor and out-door environments are carefully organized around the four foundations of learning: belonging, well-being, engagement, and expression.



 We cultivate authentic, caring relationships and connections to create a sense of belonging among and between children, adults, and the world around them.

 We discover the unique characteristics and gifts of each child by forming a warm relationship with her or his family, carefully observing and documenting what the children are interested in, noticing what inspires them, how they relate to the environment around them, and what brings them joy. In our inclusive learning environments we focus on children’s strengths and capabilities.



 “Children thrive in programs where they can engage in vigorous physical play in natural outdoor spaces and playgrounds that present manageable levels of challenge.” (HDLH, pg. 29)

 As outlined in the How Does Learning Happen, Ontario’s Pedagogy for the Early Years document we support the connections between learning and physical and emotional well-being. We provide carefully planned environments that provide children with motivating opportunities for a reasonable degree of risk taking. Program adaptations and physical accommodations allow every child to participate and be inspired in meaningful ways.

 We support physical well-being in a variety of ways:

·        Through nutritious food and beverage choices that incorporate family and cultural preferences.

·        By creating positive eating environments and opportunities of choices and independence.

·        Increasing children’s physical activity and decreasing the amount of time spent in sedentary activities supported by our natural outdoor play spaces.

·        Respecting and finding ways to support each child’s varied physiological; and biological rhythms and needs for active play, rest, and quiet time.



 At Emmanuel at Brighton Child Care Centre every child is an active and engaged learner who explores the world with body, mind, and senses. We create environments and experiences that support active engagement and meaningful exploration by focusing on the questions and theories children investigate through their play.

 We design outdoor and indoor environments that encourage investigation, provide challenges that are responsive to individual capabilities to help children extend the boundaries of learning.

We engage the children, families and the community in creating a wide variety of open-ended, intelligent materials that invite the children to engage with their senses, manipulate, and investigate.

 We provide daily routines with limited interruptions and transitions to provide ample opportunities through large blocks of time for children to engage in sustained, complex play and inquiry.

 Connecting with families and communities and inviting their participation ensures that our environments and experiences reflect and are relevant to children’s everyday lives.


Expression: Fostering Communication and Expression in All Forms

 We recognize children as capable and powerful communicators from birth onwards and recognize them as active social partners in learning.  We weave language- and literacy-related activities and materials into all daily experiences, routines, and physical spaces.

 We work with families and community partners to find ways to support and enrich the transmission of language and culture.

We support the children in varied forms of expression to communicate feelings, experiences, ideas, and the understanding of the world around them.

 We support the many ways children communicate and provide individualized support so children of all abilities can express themselves and be heard.

 We provide time, space, and materials to encourage expression through creative materials that reflect children’s capabilities as well as their social and cultural background.

Helping Children Learn About Themselves Through Mindfulness Practices

In our Forest and Nature School we introduce Mindfulness Practices through Magic Spot exercises. Participants find cozy spots in nature where they concentrate on observing their surroundings with calm focus using their five senses and being truly present in the moment. Magic Spot experiences provide us with an opportunity to take some personal and calm time each day away from the business of the group. Magic Spot experiences support the children's resilience, emotional intelligence, and wellbeing.


The TFL Approach

TFL – Relationship-building solutions is a program designed with both children and adults in mind. It encourages educators, children and families to work together as partners using a common language and consistent strategies to problem-solve and deal with conflict & build strong relationships.

 The program focuses on:

  • listening skills

  • self-esteem

  • feelings

  • calming down

  • problem-solving tools

  • cooperation

Resource information is sent home for parents to become familiar with the material. These hands on activities and resources are easy to access and fun to use.

 They help: 

  • master and reinforce consistent language and strategies

  • model healthy ways to handle frustrations

  • increase interactive family time

Through the process of observation, interpretation and reflection the educators guide the children through self-regulation activities. Large and small group projects enhance social, emotional, cognitive, and physical development and support a lifelong love of learning. 

 TFL Resources are available at: