The House of Children has recently reopened as a licensed group daycare for infants/toddlers and children aged three to five.
Pronounced in the Halq’me’ylem language as “Lalem Ye Mamele,” the facility is located along Highway 7 on the Chawathil First Nation reserve.
Since November, staff have been creating a holistic program which is modeled after the Reggio Emilia approach to preschool education and childcare.
“It is where the environment teaches and nurtures and stimulates the child, and where the educators facilitate and build the curriculum upon a child’s interests and developmental needs, and where the curriculum development involves the parents and community,” said facility manager Lousha Angel, who lives in Hope.
“It is well known around the world that the Reggio Emilia approach to early childhood education is considered to be one of the most advanced educational systems at the present time.”
House of Children has been designed with warm earth tones, creative visuals, art displays, baskets, rugs, comfy places, beautiful music, flowers, and windows that reach down to the floor allowing in natural lighting.
“When a child enters through the door, we want him or her to feel welcome, appreciated, loved and nurtured immediately by what they see, hear, sense, feel, and smell. After all they have to spend all day here, we want them to feel wonderful the minute they arrive,” said Angel.
“Equally important, and at the same time, we, as the educators, want to create a stimulating curriculum based on the child’s interests and developmental needs, and by doing so, we hope to evoke the child’s natural curiosity in order for the child to be fully engaged while exploring, creating, problem solving and learning, so they feel excited about coming here.”
Angel has 24 years of experience in the childcare field and received a Diploma in Early Childhood Education from the University of the Fraser Valley. For the past 12 years, she has been involved in First Nations Head Start on-reserve, developing holistic programs for young children involving several components such as culture, language, school-readiness, health, nutrition, emotional competence, empathy, life-skills, family participation, and social support.
Angel works with early childhood educator Brenda Charlie, infant/toddler educator Sherry Peters, and Kristie Peters at the House of Children. The daycare is open Monday to Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. For more information, call 604-869-9949.