“A child loves his play, not because it’s easy, but because it’s hard.”
-Benjamin Spock, American paediatrician, 1903–1998
Our South Cambie centre is located at 726 West 16th Avenue, between Heather and Willow Streets, in the heart of the Douglas Park community. There is ample parking and easy access to public transit on 16th Avenue, Oak Street and Cambie Street, and to the Heather Street bike path. Our facility is spacious, child-friendly and flooded with natural light. Heather Park is located just two blocks away and is a regular destination for children in our preschool program.
Play-based preschool programs with trained and experienced staff give young children an ideal environment in which to explore, create, discover, learn and grow. The goal is to help children become ready for kindergarten by focusing on their physical, emotional, social, intellectual and linguistic development.
But children are not all the same! As all parents know, a child may excel in one area of development but not another. As well, children’s innate temperaments, their likes and dislikes, and their ways of learning and doing things may be very different.
At Extra Steps, our staff excels at getting to know young children as individuals in order to provide them with the best possible opportunities to learn and have fun. We don’t design activities with rigid rules based simply on what a chart says a child should be able to do at a particular age. (If your child is able to use scissors, great! They can use scissors.) Nor do we prevent them from doing something the way they want, within reason. (Do they like to stand up while doing crafts? Lie down while reading? Hold a toy during circle time? Play a particular game over and over during free play? We don’t interfere with any of that unless we have a very good reason to do so. )
We can also expand on what a child is learning by challenging them with a new activity. For example, a parent may tell us their child is totally uninterested in crafts. If we noticed the child was fascinated by dinosaurs, we might prepare the craft table with dinosaurs and offer a dinosaur footprint making activity, or the chance to build a dinosaur nest. We draw the child’s attention in slow interesting ways that are natural and appealing to the child.
As Early Childhood Educators, we know that many behavioural problems in preschoolers stem from their being bored, frustrated or ignored. Our approach prevents these problems by allowing individual children to blossom in their own unique way. Moreover, by having longer classes and a higher staff-to-child ration, children are not rushed and get a lot of attention in our centres.