• Frequently Asked Questions

    Along with Common Comments
    Why is your school different?

    Our Specialty is our expertly trained teachers…

    North Toronto Early Years Learning Centre is a unique school. Our mission is to create a school that operates under the child guidance principles of Alfred Adler, (the father of all democratic family practices that are growing in popularity today). Adler recognized, and research has proven, that children’s future success is predicated on the development of a healthy self-belief system that includes the 4 Crucial C’s (one’s need to feel Connected, Capable, that they Count, and to feel Courageous). The centre has worked with an Adlerian Consultant who is an expert in classroom management ensuring that every student is given the solid foundation from which they can go forth and tackle life’s challenges successfully. We work at the belief system level and the only way to accomplish this is through extensive training, education and skills acquisition, which is why the school invests so heavily in teacher training. We encourage parents to learn Adler’s parenting practices by offering parenting classes, topic nights and “ask the expert” discussion evenings at the school.

    What is an example of how an Adlerian teacher may handle a common classroom situation?

    Many schools claim that they teach children how to share.

    But how do they do this? What is the method? Typically, nursery school teachers don’t “teach” children how to share, but simply intervene with “It’s not your turn Michael” or “Give that back Michael, Tommy had it first”.
    At the North Toronto Early Years Learning Centre, we want to really teach children how to deal with others and manage life’s problems. Here is how it looks:
    Teaching Sharing the Adlerian Way
    If a child is playing with a toy and another child comes by and takes it away, our teacher’s do the following:
    1) Get down on our knees so we are talking face to face with the children instead of towering over them. Face to face is the most egalitarian friendly position to talk to children in. We spend a lot of time on the ground!
    2) We take a neutral body stance, meaning we consciously position ourselves equal-distance between the children involved, so it does not appear to either child that we are taking sides.
    3) We work with both children to show them how to deal with the problem that the situation has created without taking over their responsibility or ownership of the problem. It would play out like this:
    “Tommy [who is crying* because his toy got snatched], do you need to speak up to your friend Annie? She is a very good listener [gives encouragement]. You can let her know you are not done yet. Say: “I’m not done yet.””
    * The teacher isn’t impressed with the tears, and makes no mention of the emotional display, but does ACT in validating ways by providing support in their problem solving
    N.B. if Tommy is preverbal, he is still learning what to say when he does become verbal. He is also learning that it is HIS job to speak up rather than looking to an adult to solve his social problems and get his toy back.
    “Annie, I see my friend Tommy here is letting you know that he is not done yet. Would you like a turn when he is finished?”
    (Annie nods)
    “Then you need to let Tommy know – he is very good at sharing (gives encouragement). Can you say ‘I’d like a turn please when you’re done’?”
    (Tommy nods)
    Great! You two managed to work that out.

    Can I learn to apply this philosophy at home?

    We recommend that parents take a parent education class so that we can work corroboratively to build the best early years experiences for your children. In addition, parents are invited to attend events at the centre throughout the year. Alyson Schafer presents on topics such as “bringing home baby” toilet training” picky eaters, and “power struggles”. You can view examples of Alyson’s parenting advice on her website at www.Alyson.ca. You can also sign up to have Alyson send you tips straight to your inbox, or even better catch her live as she hosts a call-in advice show on Rogers Television “The Parenting Show” Mondays at 2:00 p.m.
    As well, we have provided some helpful links on this site to Adlerian and other parenting resources.

    What about Academics?

    The North Toronto Early Years Learning Centre provides a terrific curriculum for young budding minds.

    Our toddler and preschool curriculum focus is on addressing the questions, “How are you smart?” as opposed to asking, “Are you smart?” Because not all children learn the same way, it is important to us to determine how your child learns about the world around them. Once we know how your child learns, we can then utilize that strength and natural ability to foster lesser developed domains.
    We follow the approach that information should be taught to the children in a specific order to promote full comprehension and retention: this makes learning holistic and progressive. Our approach builds upon previous learnt knowledge, and individualizes the group program plans through the use of checklists and assessments.

    Will my child be prepared for Full Day Kindergarten (FDK)?

    The feeder schools report that they can see a noticeable difference in children that have attended Adlerian nursery schools.

    Our school prepares children academically for school entrance, but what stands out for them is the leadership traits, self-motivation and self-sufficiency of our students.

    What amenities does the Centre have?

    Available at both locations:

    1. Bright and cheery classrooms
    2. Kitchen for cooking activities
    3. Secure, safe, locked classrooms
    4. Gymnasium for gross motor skills

    What about your teachers?

    At North Toronto Early Years we believe that our programs are only as good as our teachers.

    Each staff member is trained in the Adlerian philosophy. All classrooms are staffed by professionally trained RECE’s (which is the new designation for Registered ECE’s). In addition, we have a full time supervisor and administrator so that our teachers can focus all their attention on the children.

    What are your Teacher to Child Ratios?

    Our Teacher to Child Ratios are:

    Toddler 1:5
    Preschool 1:8
    JK/SK 1:10

    Does my child need to be potty trained?

    We do not discriminate on the basis of toileting ability.

    All children of all abilities are welcome in any of the programs. The Adlerian approach to toilet training is also the approach recommended by the Canadian Pediatric Association. This child-centered approach focuses on allowing the child to pace his/her own toileting progress. The Centre staff will provide the child with all the education and assistance they need. We believe that when the child is both physically and psychologically ready they will succeed in mastering this task.
    We handle both accidents and success in a calm matter of fact manner, having faith the child can manage either situation.

    Is my child safe at the Centre?

    Once the children enter the centre the doors are securely locked.

    In addition, both buildings are fully equipped with all the latest fire safety equipment i.e. fire-rated doors, sprinkler systems, and pull-stations. We are hooked up to a fire and security monitoring station, and we practice fire drills on a monthly basis.

    Do parents need to provide a snack?

    No, we provide snack as we want to ensure the safety of the children at our centre with regards to allergies.

    Snack is an important part of our program as it is a time for the children to come together as a group and to socialize with each other as well as the teachers. It is also a great time for the children to learn how capable they are and how they can help the group. Important snack jobs that the children love are: snack person (hands out snack), napkin person, water person, chair inspector (makes sure chairs are pushed in after snack). Snack is always nutritious, e.g. fruit, cheese, fish crackers, graham crackers, etc., and we always serve water. We serve water because this is a great time to teach children:

    1. How to drink from a cup
    2. How to pour into a cup
    3. If we spill, that it is no big deal, and how to clean up.

    Every task takes some mistake making before we master it. Water is much easier to clean up without the sticky mess of juice. We want to ensure kids are OK with making mistakes.

    What else is at the centre for families?

    We also offer the following:

    – Special extended evening hours so adults can rejuvenate themselves with a Date Night! The children refer to this as the “Pizza Party”
    – Information nights on common parenting issues.
    – Lunch programs and enhanced afternoon programs.