Creating an integrated and inclusive daycare environment through play and exploration.
When you walk into Hope’s Home, it will at first look like every other daycare in the city. There will be kids laughing and playing, Early Childhood Educators reading stories, a Nutrition Specialist cooking up a healthy lunch, and of course the loud noises of a childcare centre. But then you will look a little closer and notice some things that are a bit different. There is a cozy, quiet little room filled with sensory items, a ceiling track lift running throughout the daycare, a nurse providing medical care to a little kiddo with a feeding tube, and a Physical Development Consultant helping another kiddo into their standing frame.
The kids who attend our Early Learning & Childcare centres grow up seeing these things everyday; so to them, it’s just another day at daycare. But sometimes, curiosity gets the best of them (as it should) and they have a million questions. Last week was one of those times where they were extra curious about the different types of equipment their friends use and what exactly it all does; and our staff jumped at this chance to help them better understand.
Our amazing staff created hands on opportunities for the kids to try the equipment out for themselves. The kiddos were able to sit in Activity Chairs and take a ride on the Ceiling Track Lift. This showed them how the different equipment helps their friends be able to play and explore just like they do.
They learned that a wheelchair is just another way to move around, just like walking! And they learned that a ceiling track lift is just another way to get to the bathroom, just like getting a piggyback ride! They realize that all of these things that may seem different or unusual to them, are actually just ways for their friends to be able to do all the things that they do!
Not only is it our goal to create a safe place for children with complex medical or developmental needs, but we also want it to be a place where typically developing children grow up to be compassionate ally’s to their friends with disabilities. Encouraging curiosity, answering questions, and demonstrating differences, is big part of how we achieve our goal everyday. Activities like this help to to normalize the differences between the typically developing kids and the children who experience a disability. This is how we truly create an inclusive and integrated childcare experience.
That’s why there is no place like Hope.