The aim of the University of Toronto Early Learning Centre (ELC) is to provide a safe, secure, supportive and stimulating environment where children are free to grow to their potential. ELC endeavours to provide a bias-free learning environment, especially in regard to language, teaching materials, response to specific incidents, and other facets of the program.
The learning environment reflects the diversity of the children in the ELC and the world in which they live. The environment reflects cultural sensitivity and incorporates each child’s cultural heritage into the centre’s day-to-day activities. It is an environment that does not exclude or stereotype people on the basis of age, gender, colour, ethnicity, economic status, sexuality, culture, or physical ability/mental ability, and appearance. We prohibit behavior that is sexist or racist as well as violent play including the use of toy weapons.
The children are taught to respect the religious and ethnic heritage of the different groups that make up Canadian society. The teachers demonstrate and discuss with the children the celebrations and traditions of different communities. Care is taken to avoid not only ethnic and racial stereotypes but gender type-casting as well.
In keeping with this philosophy and in accordance with the collective agreements between the ELC and the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) and the United Steelworkers of America (USWA), which represents the staff, the ELC identifies itself as an equal opportunity work place. Employment practices which discriminate on the grounds of race, creed, colour, national origin, political or religious affiliation, sex, sexual orientation, age, marital status, family relationship, and disability is prohibited by or within the ELC.
ELC is committed to service to children and families, and to the protection of children, families, staff, volunteers and students from discriminatory behaviour. The ELC also strongly supports the Human Rights Code Section 4 (s), which “provides that every person has a right to freedom from discrimination.” The Code applies to the actions of people in the workplace itself (employment practices) and to the provision of service (child care) to the public. The staff at the ELC is responsible for ensuring that this requirement of the Human Rights Code is carried out.
This policy and procedures apply to children, service users (parent/guardian, family members), and to ELC persons (volunteers, students, staff and Parents Advisory Committee (PAC) members).
The Entire Bias-Free Philosophy & Procedures to Address Incidents of Discrimination is available in the office.