What do we do at Emmanuel?

Forest and Nature School

At Emmanuel at Brighton Child Care Centre we are inspired by the four foundations. We reflect upon the questions of the expert panel of the How Does Learning Happen, Ontario’s Pedagogy for The Early Years Document. The four foundations are engagement, belonging, well-being and expression. We look at our projects and explorations with these foundations in mind. These principles can be seen through pedagogical documentation, the interactions of the children, the educators, the families, and our community. Our curriculum is enriched by the gracious support of Ontario’s First Nations’ Pedagogy and the millennia old sophisticated land based knowledge of elders and youth leaders.

The Environment as a Teacher

Our outdoor and indoor environments are the reflection of each classroom’s explorations and community. Each environment is intentional and unique. Each environment reflects the emerging interests of the children. Loose materials, authentic tools, and natural elements are supporting all age age groups, enabling all the children to explore out natural play spaces. Our natural play spaces are our window to the neighbourhood, to nature, and the four seasons.

Safe Risk Taking

In our five natural play spaces we have numerous opportunities to explore safe risk taking. Safe risk taking can take the form of exploring, using tools, building with large loose materials and engaging in new experiences. Risk taking is also supported in social contexts when we take risks participating in community story telling, in exploring democracy in the classroom, and expressing ourselves in a large group.

Mindfulness and Self Regulation Practices

Mindfulness practices are part of our daily lives spontaneously guiding us throughout our journey. Authentic mindfulness practices and materials are available in our Mindfulness Atelier, and each classroom enriching our expression of diversity reflecting the diversity of our community. Authentic instruments, singing bowls, drums, maracas, chimes, and gongs provide opportunities for calm reflection and exploration. We practice a variety of breathing exercises in small groups, the children create their unique creative ways of exploring breathing. The educators use this practice in mindful eating, during transitions, during rest times.

Magic Spots are a regular way of exploring mindfulness in Nature, observing our surroundings with all our senses. These practices provide opportunities for the children to take a break from the busyness of the large group and nurture their self care.


Opportunities for expression through music is an internal part of our outdoor explorations, unique large bells, steel drums, shakers, elephant drum, large wind chimes, pots and pans are examples of what you might find in our Natural Play Spaces. Instruments and drums are part of all our explorations in the classrooms and at the Atelier.

We have emergent, child directed musical experiences lead by music students, experts, enthusiasts and educators.

The children are invited to participate in monthly Drumfit Sessions lead by certified instructors where music and creative movement unite.

Emergent Curriculum

Our Emergent Curriculum is a project based approach where each research experience involves deep thinking and professional reflection. Each research project follows the children’s expertise and enhances the learning with provocations and invitations intentionally created by the educators. Educators research, document and reflect from the viewpoints of the children, the families, the educators, and the community. The educators and children are engaged in a cycle of pedagogical documentation that addresses all aspects of learning such as literacy, numeracy, scientific exploration, dramatic play, ecological identity, and community connections. Each experience is explored through the lens of the four foundations for learning well-being, expression, engagement and belonging.

Our Programs

Toddler Program

18 months to 2.6 year olds

Sprouts and Seedlings Rooms

15 children in each room

3 educators (ratio 1:5)


Pre-School Program

2.6 to 4 year olds

Birch and Maple Rooms

24 children in each room

Tree Tops Room

20 children in the room

3 educators (ratio 1:8)


Kindergarten Program

4 to 5 year olds

Maygwayyawk Room

22 children

2 educators (ratio 1:13)

Meal Preparation

Meals are prepared on the premises and are planned according to Canada's Food Guide. Our Centre aims to be a peanut free environment. Substitute meals must be provided by parents for children with severe food allergies or special diets. 

 Weekly menus run on a seven week rotation and are posted on bulletin boards outside each classroom and the lunch room.

Menus are emailed to each family prior to each rotation.

A nutritious snack is served in the morning and in the afternoon.

Lunchtime is a happy, social event. Parents may eat with their children with one day's notice. 


Click here for a sample menu.