Philosophy & Program Statement

"Stand aside for a while and leave room for learning, observe carefully what children do, and then, if you have understood well, perhaps teaching will be different from before" -- Loris Malaguzzi

Our program at Jacob Hespeler Child Care Centre is a reflection of our philosophy and belief that children best learn and grow by being actively involved in their environment both indoors and out. It is important to us to provide the best possible environment to assist the child to develop to their fullest potential, in their own way.

Our intent is to use a proactive approach to provide enhanced services to all the children in our programs. High quality developmentally appropriate child care is also inclusive care. When children’s needs are being met according to their developmental levels, children do not stand out as having ”special needs” they all have needs, and Jacob Hespeler Child Care staff play an important role in meeting those individual needs.

We hold an image of children as competent, rich in potential and capable of constructing knowledge. We draw on this powerful image as a cornerstone supporting and nurturing the innate wonder, curiosity and creativity of children. We believe that this respectful approach allows opportunities for healthy innovative risk taking that stimulates independence and autonomy of both mind and body.

We believe that through our interpretation of the Reggio Emilia approach to Early Childhood Education, the child uses play to develop: independence, resourcefulness, curiosity, creativity, responsibility, self-regulation and most importantly, a sense of self-worth.

Authentic Relationships as our Foundation ~ In our Jacob Hespeler Child Care Centres we believe that every interaction and exchange we have with a child and their family must be anchored in authenticity and respect. We believe that every interaction has the power to forge a strong positive relationship. 

In our reflective practice we ask ourselves:

“Am I present?” “Am I bringing myself fully to this interaction with this child who stands before me?” And “Is this interaction with this child or this family going to promote their sense of belonging?” “Will they feel heard, respected and valued?”  

Our image of the child as competent, capable, curious, rich in potential and capable of complex thinking, must not be mere words, but rather the actions that we live out daily with children.

Respect ~ As a community of learners at Jacob Hespeler Child Care Centre we have made a commitment to put Respect at the heart of everything we do. Respect for the child, respect for the family, and respect for the educator, builds strong positive authentic relationships.  

We consider:

Am I speaking respectfully to this child? Am I honouring and supporting his or her competencies by my actions?

We ask the same thing of our colleagues:

Am I speaking respectfully to this educator? Am I honouring and supporting his or her competencies by my actions?

We consider the same things of our families:

Am I speaking respectfully to this parent? Are my actions honouring and supporting their competencies?

None are empty vessels. Each protagonist comes with full rich life experiences, each is competent, each is capable and each is worthy of the respect we afford them. There is no other way.

Provocations and the Pedagogical Documentation Cycle ~ In all our programs we strive to use our daily observations and pedagogical documentation to drive our curriculum. We set up rich complex learning environments; we observe children closely and document their thinking. Together with colleagues and families we then collaborate to determine what invitations or provocations we can provide to help scaffold the children’s thinking. Provocations can be new materials in the environment, a challenge that is posed to the children or a well thought out question. This is challenging work that is exciting and full of surprises. We try to approach our work from a researcher’s stance. We develop our theories about what a child may be thinking and about what theories the child is working with. The provocations we choose help us to dig deeper and gain better understandings about children and where to go next in our planning. They help us test our theories and in turn help the children to advance their theories or identify inconsistencies in their thinking.

We ask ourselves: “What do the children know?” “What do they want to know?” and “How can we support and provoke that learning with authentic experiences?”

We are co-learners with the children. Our respectful approach and authentic relationship based programs are designed to nurture children’s healthy development and support their growing sense of self. In partnership with parents we encourage children to become keenly aware of their bodies needs for nutritious foods, physical activities and rest in addition to their social and emotional needs. We support children to best articulate their needs to others and to encourage them to understand the needs of those around them. In this process the children grow in their ability to self-regulate. By partnering with parents, through ongoing, two way communication (both written and verbal) we ensure cohesive positive support for every child.   In order to ensure we deliver the highest quality child care programs and to assess the impact of the strategies set out in this program statement, as well as ensure the approaches laid out in the program statement are being implemented, our organization actively participates in an ongoing assessment cycle which includes but is not limited to: Annual environmental reviews, Annual staff surveys, Annual parent surveys, Parent Teacher conferences, Staff performance reviews with goal setting, staff meetings and team meetings that focus on many aspects of professional development and support. Action Goals are developed from the data that is generated through the assessment cycle.  

Community Partnerships ~ From time to time throughout the year, we are involved in training students through high school, university and community college programs, as well as candidates from other government-sponsored programs. We cultivate a positive and supportive working relationship with community support agencies that provide us with resource information and classroom support to better meet the needs of children, families and educators. We also welcome volunteers from the community.  

As a foundation to our high quality programs we are dedicated to upholding the College of Early Childhood Educator’s Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice. As professionals we are committed to life-long learning that builds on our solid education of child development and care. We believe in continuously gaining new understanding of best practices as research emerges and advances are made in related fields of study. As part of our commitment to quality, our staff are encouraged and supported in ongoing professional growth and development. All our toddler, preschool, kindergarten and school age programs rest on this strong foundation, providing children the opportunity to be supported in a safe social environment that respects their unique stage of growth and development.

                          Our Guiding Documents  

We utilize the document "How Does Learning Happen? Ontario's Pedagogy for the Early Years":

along with  “Intentional Joyfulness Through Reflective Practices to guide our practice. These documents are reviewed on a continual basis with all of the Educators.

"Observe and listen to children because when they ask “why?” they are not simply asking for the answer from you. They are requesting the courage to find a collection of possible answers." -- Carlina Rinaldi

The Hundred Languages of Children

The child

is made of one hundred.

The child has

A hundred languages

A hundred hands

A hundred thoughts

A hundred ways of thinking

Of playing, of speaking.

A hundred always a hundred

Ways of listening

of marveling, of loving

A hundred joys

For singing and understanding

A hundred worlds

To discover

A hundred worlds

To invent

A hundred worlds

To dream

The child has

A hundred languages

(and a hundred hundred hundred more)

But they steal ninety-nine.

The school and the culture

Separate the head from the body.

They tell the child;

To think without hands

To do without head

To listen and not to speak

To understand without joy

To love and to marvel

Only at Easter and Christmas

They tell the child:

To discover the world already there

And of the hundred

They steal ninety-nine.

They tell the child:

That work and play

Reality and fantasy

Science and imagination

Sky and earth

Reason and dream

Are things

That do not belong together

And thus they tell the child

That the hundred is not there

The child says: NO WAY the hundred is there--

Loris Malaguzzi

~ Founder of the Reggio Approach

For more information on the Reggio Emilia Approach to Early Childhood Education please visit: