Free to Become is dedicated to providing a program that supports children's learning, development, health, and well-being. We are guided by the Child Care and Early Years Act and our curriculum is based the Ministry of Education's document How Does Learning Happen? Ontario's Pedagogy for the Early Years. How Does Learning Happen is the province's framework for providing supportive and enriching child care programs and is based on current research in early childhood development.
The document recognizes that learning and development are supported by strong relationships between children, families, educators, and their environments. Children are competent, capable of complex thinking, curious and rich in potential. Families, and educators are competent, capable, curious, and rich in experience.
The following four foundations are the basis of rich learning environments that provide children with the opportunities they need to reach their full potential in all areas of development.
Belonging refers to a sense of connectedness to others, an individual's experiences of being valued, of forming relationships with others and making contributions as part of a group, a community, the natural world.
Well-being addresses the importance of physical and mental health and wellness. It incorporates capacities such as self-care, sense of self, and self-regulation skills.
Engagement suggests a state of being involved and focused. When children are able to explore the world around them with their natural curiosity and exuberance, they are fully engaged. Through this type of play and inquiry, they develop skills such as problem solving, creative thinking, and innovating, which are essential for learning and success in school and beyond.
Expression or communication (to be heard, as well as to listen) may take many different forms. Through their bodies, words, and the use of materials, children develop capacities for increasingly complex communication. Opportunities to explore materials support creativity, problem solving, and mathematical behaviours. Language-rich environments support growing communication skills, which are foundational for literacy.