Q: Is Children’s Garden Nursery School affiliated with any other nearby schools?
No, we are an independent operation. We previously had a second location on Eglinton Avenue, but that location has operated under separate management since 2004.
Q: What are the staff qualifications?
Following Ministry of Education requirements, all of our classroom teachers are registered members of the College of Early Childhood Educators. Our specialty teachers are qualified in their area of expertise.
While some schools may have their specialty teachers as part of their ratio for example; a classroom teacher may also teach French to other classes. Here at Children’s Garden, when the children are in their specialty classes, their classroom teachers have valuable prep time which in turn allows the classroom teacher to be fully prepared and 100% involved with their children during class time.
Q: Can my child start at any time during school year?
If we have availability in any of our classes it may be an option. We tend not to have new students start with us after the March Break as it is not fair to the class that has been established for most of the school year.
Q: Is snack included?
Yes! Our nutritious and delicious snacks are catered by ‘Food for Tots’. We are able to take into consideration all allergies and diet restrictions if applicable.
Q: Does my child have to be potty trained?
At Children’s Garden we believe that each child should develop at their own rate and this includes toilet training. In an ideal world, all children would be completely trained by the first day of school, but we understand, and are sensitive to the fact that for some children, this is not a fair request to be made. If your child is resisting the toilet training process and it is close to the beginning of school, please do not force the issue. Once your child is comfortable and settled in the program, we would be more than happy to help your child if he or she is beginning to show signs of readiness.
Q: How does preschool prepare my child for kindergarten?
Most young children are used to being the centre of attention at home and rightly so!
Outside of the security of their home environment there are many skills to be learned that cannot always be taught at home. Being part of a school environment from an early age allows a child to develop not only social skills but also helps them to build a solid foundation from an academic standpoint. For a child to be able to walk independently into a classroom at the age of two is an amazing achievement! The skills to be taught at this age are endless … how to line up with their peers to walk from the classroom to the gym, how to handle the prospect of not being first in line or having to wait to play with a toy, sitting in a circle with good ‘listening ears’ etc. can take a lot of self-control for a little one.
We begin our Handwriting Without Tears program in our Toddler and Preschool Programs so that they children are already being introduced to the concept of letters at their level of understanding. Knowing how to hold a pencil correctly, using scissors proficiently, writing their own name are just some examples of basic skills we concentrate on. Our nursery children are well prepared for kindergarten; the high success rate of our students applying and gaining acceptance into larger private schools is an excellent indicator.
Q: Will my child be reading by the end of kindergarten?
Each child develops at their own rate and within the kindergarten time period the range may be varied without necessary concerns. The child’s ability to click into reading or writing independently can happen at any time between the ages of 4 and 6. In our experience it is like a light bulb being switched on and then they are off to the races! We have excellent teachers who can provide the children with an enriched learning environment where both collectively and individually the children can build on their skills. Some children move forward faster than others in certain areas of the program and that’s okay. This is not a race but a time where the scaffolding needs to be carefully built in conjunction with each child’s needs.
Our kindergarten children have two years to prepare for grade one and during this time we ensure that they are exposed to a fun, well balanced, and engaging curriculum so that they are independent readers moving forward.
Q: What if English is not my child’s first language?
If your child does not have any English vocabulary, his success or readiness for school will depend on his/her emotional maturity and type of personality. A new school can be overwhelming for children who have a good understanding of English so you can imagine for a child who is not familiar with English and how they must feel. We are able to quickly assess if your child will meet with success regardless of their ability to communicate in English based on emotional maturity and level of confidence. For children who are younger, being in English speaking programs with their parents who can help communicate to them in their mother tongue may be the best start so that the children gain experience and more understanding of basic vocabulary before being left in an independent program.
Q: How are the children disciplined?
First of all, discipline is such a harsh word, especially when we are dealing with young children who are experiencing many situations for the very first time. We are here to teach and that includes helping the children make the right choices with their behaviour and how they conduct themselves in a group setting. Our expectations for a toddler and that of a kindergarten student are very different as maturity plays a huge role in the outcome of any given situation.
We do not believe in ‘time outs’ unless a child needs some time to themselves to calm down or just have a break from the rest of the class. Our teachers have the ability to anticipate situations and therefore are able to redirect a child if they can see he/she is not ready to make the right decision with their behaviour. We also tend to look at our programming and set up of the classroom if a child is having issues. Many times if there are concerns with behaviour in a classroom, it may be due to children being bored or frustrations due to activities being too advanced for their skill level. Therefore, it is vital that we are creating an environment that will help them to succeed in all areas of the curriculum.
We all make mistakes and being able to ‘try again’ is a wonderful way to practice making the right decision and empowering a child to become a better member of the classroom and society as a whole.
Here at Children’s Garden Nursery School we are very fortunate not to have children exhibit major behavioural problems due to small class sizes, consistent expectations and experienced teachers who can make a difference with helping children gain the tools needed to be a positive member of a group.
Q: Will my child go outside to play?
We have an enclosed Outdoor Learning Garden here at Children’s Garden that consists of a canopied seating area, garden beds that are child friendly and artificial grass surface. This area is used during the spring and fall months as an extended classroom space. The children may have snack outside, story time, a music class etc. Once we get into snowsuit season, we feel it is wasted time for the children to have to put on extensive outdoor clothing etc. when we can be using that valuable time to expand upon our regular programming. Due to our programs running for less than six hours there is no Ministry requirement for the children to have outside play. The children enjoy their daily specialties in our large gym and therefore get to use their gross motor skills on a daily basis.
Q: Can I volunteer in the classroom?
Due to our low student to teacher ratio, the need for extra help in the form of parent volunteers is not required. Most families selecting Children’s Garden for their child are making the decision based on their wish for their child to be completely independent during their time with us.
Most children tend not to veer very far from their loved ones when in a new environment and it can ultimately affect their involvement in the program. If you are looking for a school where you can share your child’s time at school then a co-op based philosophy may be a more suitable environment for you and your child.
Q: What if my child does not settle into school?
Our tuition schedule requires a large percentage of installments to be paid in full prior to the first day of school. Should a child start school and it is agreed upon by both the school and the parents that the child is not quite ready for an independent program then a full refund will be given,
However, if the school feels confident that based on regular attendance the child will succeed with the transition and the parent is not willing to give it time then there are no refunds of any processed installments.
Q: How do I know my child is ready for a toddler or preschool program?
A sure sign that your child is ready for nursery is that you can envision them enjoying all of the activities a school has to offer. At this time you are the only one who knows your child the best and taking the time to view as many schools as possible is an excellent way to ensure that your child’s need’s will be met.