University Children’s Centre programs are designed to facilitate, stimulate and maximize a child's intellectual, physical, social and emotional development and are based on the philosophy of "learning through play". We believe that children learn through their active participation in a variety of experiences. The programs which are created by the children and the educating staff follow, an emergent curriculum approach. That is, curriculum that is constantly growing and evolving with the experiences of the children and the educators.
Educators foster children’s cognitive development by providing them with materials to discover, explore, experiment, test theories and problem solve. Through this exploration, children gain understanding of many concepts such as patterning, size, shape, measurement and counting. Math and science are visible in the playrooms in areas such as sensory play, the block area and even when children take turns sharing snacks.
Developing language and literacy skills are fostered through interactions such as; sharing books, telling stories, singing songs, playing games, music, poetry, rhymes and conversation. At UCC educators encourage and model language by listening, repeating words and expanding on what children are describing. Educators also provide the children with a print rich environment including documentation of children’s own work and ideas.
social & emotional development
Building strong relationships is at the heart of our entire program, positive relationships are how children make sense of their world and know their place in it. Our educators plan and adapt daily routines which meet the individual needs of each child enabling each child to feel safe and successful. The playroom environments support social and emotional development by displaying their thoughts, feelings and ideas through documentation and art work. Play spaces are set up for large and small group activities as well as areas where children can find a private cozy space of solitude. Both children and educators share the responsibility of caring for and maintaining the equipment and materials in their play spaces, creating a sense of ownership.
Children are given the opportunity to explore various art mediums, allowing them to make sense of the materials they are working with as well as make their own representations of the world around them. By sharing art experiences with their peers throughout the day, children gain an understanding of being respectful and appreciative of other people’s work and ideas. In addition to daily experiences with a variety of music genres, dancing and instruments an optional program music is offered to the families in our full day programs.
Physical development is nurtured in all aspects of our programs. Children are given opportunities to develop their fine motor skills with a variety of materials such as writing implements, small blocks, puzzles and other activities. As children age the possibilities of fine motor materials become more complex. Gross motor development is fostered in our large outdoor play spaces, dancing, running and game playing, and building “big” with hollow blocks. UCC also uses Dalhousie’s pool, gyms, skating rink and fields to offer a variety of gross motor experiences.