Expert opinions from numerous research perspectives have specifically identified the importance of quality care for children from 0 to 5 years of age. As a society, we acknowledge and endorse the importance of this foundational development as the underpinnings to lifelong learning and its direct impact on our continued success as a nation. At Giles, we would argue that the quality of this care should extend from ages 2 to 13!
Today’s child care market is dominated by school boards and municipalities, with non-profit programmes like Giles still operating in considerable numbers. The for-profit market has slowly dissipated over the last number of years as various provincial and federal legislation has promoted the growth of the non-profit services, decreasing the viability of the for-profit sector.
The medley of available programmes varies dramatically and includes preschool, nursery, full- and part-time care, full-time kindergarten, school-age after-school care and others integrated into a school program. As well, there are those that are driven by a specific philosophy.
Although a majority of centres in the public system are physically located in schools and give the appearance of being “connected”, the reality is otherwise. Take for example the full-day kindergarten, and I quote from the Ministry of Education for Ontario’s website, “Before- and after-school programs complement what happens during the regular school day in the full-day kindergarten program.”
Note, the carefully chosen word “complement”, which is succinctly different than the word “integrated!”
Furthermore, if fewer than 20 families do not require the before/after school care the school is not required to offer this programme to parents. This ensures that full-time kindergarten is a not an option for those families whose work schedule does not coincide with the school day. Certainly, the full-day kindergarten is a laudable initiative by the provincial government at improving the quality and number of options for parents but it’s certainly not a “universal” solution for every child in Ontario! Additionally, if this scenario emerges for a parent they must choose between dividing the early childhood experience into 2 programmes in 2 locations or delay their child’s entry to school until Grade One.
The provincial government states that “A child care centre located in a school, serving children age 4 and up, will be considered part of the school. This means the building and accommodation standards and requirements that apply to the school will also apply to the child care centre. Separate requirements such as zoning, building code, playground regulations and window glass will no longer be required for these centres.”–Child Care and Early Years Act, 2014.
Translated, this means they do not have to meet the same standards as the “licensed” centres like Giles. Not ideal!
For instance, staff ratios– which are an extremely important element in the full development of the child– are not considered in this missive.
Where child care and education become inseparable and flow through to the end of elementary school is in programmes exemplified by The Giles School. It is here that the care and full development of the child begins and continues from those crucial early years. In other words, the educational career of your child is planned and implemented as a seamless development with each day becoming an integrated experience between learning and care.
The Giles School seamless advantage is a programme philosophy and approach to childhood development that sets the standard by which the Ontario Ministry of Education should measure the efficacy of their policies and approaches to childhood education.
The seamless advantage is the ideal!