The HCNS continues the work of Hélène Comay who has been teaching young children for 50 years. She was the director of the JCC Nursery School until her retirement in 2005. In the spring of 2016 York University honoured Comay for her lifetime of contributions to early childhood education with an honorary doctor of laws degree conferred during spring convocation. To read her beautiful speech please visit this link: http://yfile.news.yorku.ca/2015/06/23/early-
Children in the HCNS program are meaningfully engaged in their activities and discover and pursue their interests at their own pace. In order to do this, they are given quality play materials, time and support. Play is the medium through which we achieve the goals of our philosophy as children develop and practice their skills. Within the broader areas of children’s development (language, cognitive, social, physical and emotional), play promotes problem solving, reasoning, creativity, literacy, conflict resolution, managing emotions, group cooperation and self-advocacy.
The materials available at the HCNS afford the children success as they experiment with and explore the environment. There is a strong emphasis on art materials, large and small blocks, manipulative toys, puzzles books and a dramatic play area. As we believe that children are intrinsically motivated to play, the development of readiness skills occurs through exploration of the environment that we as teachers have set in accordance with our play-based philosophy.
Literacy is an essential part of our program. We want children to be hooked on books. Our teachers read to the children daily both individually and in a group. Books are chosen carefully based on content, language and illustration. A special emphasis is placed on the rich collection of folk tales from around the world. Borrowing books occurs daily and encourages the link from school to home.
From the earliest age, children are naturally and joyfully experimenting with sounds, rhythms, chants and rudimentary melodies. This is further encouraged and developed in our specialist run weekly music programme. Singing is also an important component of our daily circle.
As an important aspect of our program philosophy is enhancing the self-esteem of every child, the teacher’s relationship to each child is of primary importance. The teachers welcome the children with warmth and acceptance and are aware of each child’s individual needs. They are present to support and encourage them in their emerging skills in all areas of development. We see parents as our partners and value our daily communications with them as an integral part of the program.