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

How children feel about themselves is of prime importance. The cues and feelings they receive from others establish the framework upon which healthy relationships and feelings are formed and built upon.

"He flies because he thinks he can."

A poster which shows an eagle soaring through the skies with the caption "He flies because he thinks he can" has significance in the preschool environment.  

Children who believe they can succeed, will succeed.  

They will explore and challenge their environments and by doing so they will master skills and gain feelings of competence. 

They will feel free to "soar" if the environment they find themselves in is encouraging and supportive, and if the adults in their lives show genuine warmth, interest and acceptance.

Therefore, the educator is the most important element in the preschool program. The educator sets the mood and the stage for helping children learn about themselves in positive ways.

Early Childhood Educators understand children and their needs. They are knowledgeable of developmental guidelines, but they are also aware of individual differences. They are aware of the broad scope of normal behaviour in young children and the importance of understanding their egocentrism and their need for autonomy.


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: