The educational program of the MFA
The MFA developed and made public, its educational program in 1997 and updated it in 2007. It applies to all Quebec childcare services holding a permit issued by the MFA.
The following is adapted from the MFA website: www.mfa.gouv.qc.ca
- Each child is unique. The educational activities offered to the child must respect the child’s pace, needs and interests.
- The child is the main agent of his development. Such development stems from a skill and motivation intrinsic to the child. The adult guides and supports the child, leading to his autonomy.
- The child’s development is a comprehensive, integrated process that comprises the affective, physical & motor, social & moral, cognitive and linguistic dimension.
- The child learns through play, which is the main activity in childcare centres and the basis for educational intervention.
- Collaboration between the staff and the parents is essential for the harmonious development of the child.
Dimensions of child development
- Affective, Emotional: the child learns to trust adults other than his parents, to express and control his emotions, to experience change and transitions, to develop self-confidence and individuality.
- Physical & motor development: the child develops sensory perception, gross and fine motor skills, coordination, lateralization, spatial awareness and body image.
- Social and moral: the child learns to organize himself or herself in space and time, organize his thoughts, understand the world around him and solve problems.
- Language development: the child learns to understand and to express himself through verbal and non-verbal language, develop vocabulary and phonological awareness. He learns creative expression such as drawing, song, dance and theatre. He becomes aware of culture, pre-reading and writing skills.
Play is the ideal way for the child to explore, understand and master his environment. Play is the essential tool for the child to express, understand and integrate into his environment. Play takes several forms: solitary, parallel and cooperative.
The educational program recognizes parents as the primary educators and as such are in the position to help the educational staff by:
- Taking an interest in the child’s experiences at the centre.
- Questioning the staff and sharing information about their child.
- Attending parent meetings.
- Becoming a board member or participating on committees.
Parent collaboration is essential for the child’s harmonious development.
Each childcare centre is mandated to plan and implement its own educational project that reflects these guiding principles by 2008.
Program goals and objectives: CPE McGill
Program objectives of Early Childhood Education focus on enhancing each child’s social, emotional, physical and cognitive development. It is important that each child develop a positive self image that will be a foundation for his/ her life. Through the use of age-appropriate materials and equipment, qualified early childhood educators guide and support the children as they participate in activities developed by the educators with the interests, abilities and needs of the children in mind.
The team of qualified early childhood educators chooses aspects from the various educational theories and applies them according to their own beliefs about how children best learn and develop and according to their own teaching style.
Annual program goals that vary according to the age and developmental level and interests of the group and are consistent with the philosophy of the Centre are developed by the educators for their group. As well, in partnership with families, short term individual goals are developed for each child based on the developmental stage and individual needs, interests and abilities of the child.
Monthly program memos are sent home as a means of involving the entire family in the life of the daycare. Parent awareness of and involvement in their child’s daycare experience helps the child develop a sense of pride and security in themselves.
Ages and ratios
The daycare centre is divided into eight groups. These are divided by chronological age. The group size and ratios are subject to legislated standards, however the Centre strives to exceed these minimum standards (adult/child ratio) where possible. In keeping with the philosophy, the groups are structured using the following ratios:
Infants - 8 children/2 educators ± 1 part-time assistant
Ages between 4 months & 17 months in September.
Toddlers - 10 childrenl/2 educators or 11 children/2 educators
Ages between 18 -23 months in September.
Twos - 18 children/3 educators
Ages between 24-35 months in September.
Threes - 19 children/3 educators
Ages between 36-47 months in September.
Fours - 16 children/2 educators
Ages between 42-59 months in September.
16 children/2 educators
Ages between 48-59 months in September
Changes for the groups are effective in September and the group structure remains constant for the academic year. This structure promotes stability and consistency for the children. Through the use of regular volunteers, practicum students, and aides, the adult: child ratio is enhanced.
The Centre provides a program that is flexible & play- based with activities that are developmentally appropriate. The goal of the program is to provide maximum opportunity for each child to develop their potential in all areas. Educators plan their programs in accordance with the developmental level of the children in the group and seek to expand on interests of individual children and the group as a whole. Children are encouraged to make personal choices during their day with regards to activities and playmates.
Infants (4-17 months) and Toddlers (18-23 months):
These young children follow a schedule that responds to their individual needs yet is structured enough to ensure feelings of security and predictability. There is a balance of indoor and outdoor, restful and active activities. One to one quiet times are especially important for the 0-17 month groups. Routines for play time, eating, toileting routines and resting are gradually introduced into their day.
The following is a general schedule for the groups of children aged 24-59 months, designed to meet their developmental needs and interests, with room for flexibility and spontaneity.
7:00-8:00 Family Grouping in Infant Room
8:00-10:00 Welcome and Free play in designated classrooms
10:00-11:00 clean-up, toileting routine, snack and circle time
11:00-12:00 Adult directed activities, outdoor play
12:00-1:00 Toileting routine and lunch
1:00-3:00 Quiet activities and nap
3:00-3:30 Wake up time and preparation for snack
4:00-5:20 Free play (indoors and outdoors)
5:25-6:00 Family Grouping in the Gym of 3491 Peel and Departure
The above are estimated times that vary according to the age of the particular groups i.e. 4s typically eat lunch closer to 12:45 etc.
The schedules at the Centre are flexible, and change to meet the needs of the children. Additional programs and special activities take place within the basic daily routine. These include weekly music and occasional multi-cultural holiday celebrations. Parents are informed of these special programs or themes in advance through the periodic newsletters sent home by the educators.