Preschool Program

Our Preschool program is filled with investigation, exploration, and discovery, where active and enthusiastic children can refine and expand their skills and knowledge. Through intentional teaching practices, purposefully designed learning environments, and enriched activities, teachers ensure preschoolers have joyful, appropriate, and meaningful learning experiences that lead to success in school and in life.

Our implementation of the emergent curriculum aligns preschool program goals and practices with families’ expectations of educational excellence, helping preschoolers grow into confident school ready individuals.

Gradual Admissions (New Families)

In order to help children successfully integrate home and centre experiences, it is necessary to establish and maintain constant contact with parent(s)/guardian(s). The gradual admission is a good opportunity for the parent/guardian to observe and interact with the teachers, other children, and the program. Every child entering the ELC is offered gradual admission as a part of their orientation in order to give some time for adjustment before the child faces a full day without his/her parent(s)/guardians(s). A relative or caregiver can carry out or share the procedure as long as the child is comfortable and familiar with them.

We suggest the following schedule as a guideline:

  • First day – A short visit with a parent/guardian in attendance (the parent/guardian may choose to leave for one hour or so);
  • Second day – A longer visit including playground time and lunch (the parent/guardian may leave);
  • Third day – A full morning and lunch with the option to stay for rest time with the parent/guardian available by phone if needed

A schedule for the fourth and fifth day are worked out in recognition of how the child is managing and in accordance with the parent/guardians’ schedule

Transitions (Current Families)

Where possible (when numbers permit), visits to the child’s new room will be arranged by the child’s teachers as children are expected to move from one age group to the next.

Ratios & Staffing

In accordance with the provisions of the Child Care & Early Years Act, the ratio of adults to children in a preschool classroom is 1:8. The preschool programs at the ELC are staffed to comply with this requirement. Each preschool room is lead by a team of trained professionals, which includes Early Childhood Educators and a Classroom Assistant. In addition, staffing models are enriched year-round by E.C.E. students from George Brown College and work study students (September to March) from the University of Toronto.

Parent Communication

Communication with parents of preschool children takes many forms. This includes: emails from the Supervisor sent through the list serve; daily messages written on each room’s dry erase boards; and occasional updates to the centre website. Of course, parents are also encouraged to speak with staff at any time throughout the day (either by phone, or in person). Please keep in mind that staff’s first priority is to the supervision of the children in their care. As such, they may not always have time to speak with parents for prolonged periods of time during drop off or pick up. In the event that such communication is required, meetings with staff may be arranged through the main office.


Children in preschool are provided with a rest/sleep period as part of their daily experience at the ELC. This rest period takes place following lunch and is between 45 minutes and two hours in duration (depending on individual child’s needs). Since children of this age require differing amounts of sleep, staff provide quiet programming for children who wake earlier than others (puzzles, books, drawing, etc). Children are welcome to bring a sleep toy and/or blanket from home to facilitate this transition.


Preschool children at the ELC are provided with countless opportunities to engage in active, hands-on experiences throughout the day. This includes experiences that are “messy” or that involve the use of water and other sensory materials. While smocks are provided, it is strongly recommended that children arrive dressed to fully participate in the day’s activities. In addition, extra clothing (pants, shirts, sweaters, socks, and underwear) should be kept in your child’s cubby at all times. All personal items should be clearly labeled with your child’s name.

Note: As outdoor play is an integral component of your child’s daily experience at the ELC, children must also be dressed appropriately for all weather conditions.


All children should have a pair of comfortable shoes to wear at all times while in the centre. These shoes should be clearly labeled and kept in your child’s cubby or shoerack. Outdoor footwear should support active, rigorous gross motor play. Thus, open-toed shoes, flip flops and Crocs are strongly discouraged as they frequent cause injury on the playgrounds or while on community walks.

Program Planning

Program planning at the Early Learning Centre is informed by the basic tenets of emergent curriculum. Emergent curriculum is based on the premise that children are most successful at learning when curriculum experiences account for their interests, strengths, needs, and lived realities. Educators committed to this philosophy use observations of children throughout their day as a tool for constructing curriculum content. Meaningful learning opportunities are then provided in support of key developmental skills relevant to a specific age group.

The preschool rooms use a curriculum plan which our early childhood educators post and add to daily. These plans serve as a visual account of the learning experiences that are offered across all curriculum areas. The benefit of the curriculum plan is that it allows flexibility in program delivery and considers children’s changing needs and interests. It also encourages creative and open-ended thinking, which serves as a stark contrast to the restricted, linear approach that is typical of more traditional classrooms.

Experiences in each of the curriculum areas are then recorded as a reflection of these interests/focuses. Typically, curriculum categories vary according to the age group educators are planning for or reflect individual program priorities. Our preschool programs offer curriculum experiences in the following areas: Art; Sensory Play; Language/Listening; Dramatic/Pretend Play; Block/Construction Play; Cognition/Math; Science and Nature; Music and Movement and Gross Motor (Outdoor) Play.

Please see our Emergent Curriculum page for more information.

What to bring

Below is a list of things that your child will need to make their day at the centre comfortable.

  1. At least two complete sets of clothing labeled with your child’s name. Active preschoolers often need a change of clothes.
  2. 5 diapers per day; or extra underwear for children who are no longer in diapers
  3. Soothers for sleep time if necessary.
  4. Special sleep for sleep time in needed (toys must be labeled and taken home for laundering each week).
  5. Indoor shoes that children can put on / take off themselves
  6. A water bottle, straw cup or sippy cup.
  7. Pictures of family, caregivers and important people in your child’s life are helpful during transition.
  8. Outdoor clothing that is suitable for the weather:
    • Winter – boots, mittens/gloves, hats, neck warmer, snow pants, coat
    • Fall/Spring – rain boots/running shoes, light jacket/rain coat, layers for unpredictable weather conditions
    • Summer – hat, closed toe shoes, light clothing, sunscreen

Daily Schedule

The daily schedule for preschool children is very similar to what is experienced in toddler programs. The day generally consists of opportunities to engage in planned learning experiences; two hours of outdoor play; teacher-facilitated group experiences; a designated rest time; and the enjoyment of two nutritional snacks and one lunch.

While program schedules are generally adhered to in the interest of maintaining consistency for children who attend the ELC, staff also recognize the need for flexibility in response to children’s changing needs and interests.

While program schedules are generally adhered to in the interest of maintaining consistency for children who attend the ELC, staff also recognize the need for flexibility in response to children’s changing needs and interests.

Preschool Daily Schedule (Sample)

Time Activity
  • ELC opens
  • Welcome children
8:00 – 10:00
  • Morning programming
  • Self-help snack (9:15 – 10:00)
  • Tidy up activities
10:10 – 10:30
  • Morning group experience (songs, stories, discussions
  • Washroom routine
10:30 – 11:45
  • Outdoor play or Gross motor space (depending on weather)
11:50 – 12:45
  • LUNCH routine
  • Washroom routine
12:45 – 2:30
  • Rest time
  • Quiet activities (for non-sleepers and children who wake early)
2:00 – 3:30
  • Afternoon programming
3:30 – 3:45
  • Afternoon group experience (songs, stories, discussions)
3:45 – 4:10
  • Afternoon snack (group snack)
4:15 – 5:45
  • Outdoor play or Gross motor space (depending on weather)
5:45 – 6:00
  • Quiet activities
  • ELC closes