At a meeting this summer, staff at the University Children’s Centre asked themselves — as a child, what would you like to tell the adults of the world? During a recent open house for parents earlier this term, they shared their imagined responses.
Take time for me. Give me a hug. Take care of this environment. Talk and listen to me. Know me. Love me. Let me be a child.
In their powerful presentation, staff highlighted the importance of childhood as a journey, and spoke about what they at the UCC are doing to help children put one foot in front of the other.
“Children are capable, curious and unique individuals. Their ideas, thoughts and emotions are received with respect,” said Sarah Silver, executive director of the centre. “Children have the right to grow to their full potential through exploration, play and risk-taking.”
The non-profit organization, with locations on South Street and at the Life Sciences Centre, prides itself on providing high-quality and affordable childcare for children ranging from four months to nine years old. At the South Street location, home to full-day programs for infants up to preschool aged children, the centre has perfected the art of creating an environment that facilitates intellectual, physical, social and emotional development. Children engage in daily activities that stimulate gross and fine motor development, abilities to demonstrate self-awareness, learning to show interest in others and understanding how to act with purpose.
During the Parent Open House, led by Silver and Program Coordinator Deb Malbeuf, the UCC also unveiled a new logo.
“The children are contributing in their experiences, but we wondered how we could make the children have even more participation, and more of a say in what we’re doing,” said Malbeuf.
The logo is a combination of photos of children at the centre and artwork that the children have created, sized down into tiny thumbnails, colour-sorted and surrounding the shape of a tree. For the UCC staff, the tree represents the pathways of life and the constant evolution of a child. They also invited families to each paint a clay tile which will line the walls of the centre; a step that will become part of the orientation process for new families.
“To be able to create something that is grounded in growth, journey, reflectiveness, and really families, is so special,” Silver said. “Even after you leave UCC, your legacy stays here.”
Learn more about the University Children’s Centre at its website.
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