“Children are competent, capable of complex thinking, curious, and rich in potential” (OME, 2014).
Children bring their unique and diverse selves to the learning space and are ready to explore, investigate, learn, and build their knowledge. Educators are tasked with ensuring the learning spaces are safe for children to share their perspectives, to engage in manageable risk-taking, and to learn self-care and care for others. Chapters six and seven will discuss in detail the many measures necessary to embed relevant practices in early learning settings to ensure safe physical and social spaces.
Indoor and outdoor learning spaces provide unique challenges for safety. A deep understanding of regulations, policies, and procedures supports educators in both adhering to and promoting safety for young children. Information related to medical policies, playground procedures, supervision policies, and children’s mental health will be discussed to support students and new graduates in caring for young children.
Families often look to educators for resources and information to support their children at home and in the community. Educators need to be aware of resources to share with families to further their knowledge in supporting the safe development of their child. Resources may include information, learning opportunities, community agency support, and organizational partnerships to ensure diversity, equity, and inclusion for all children. Awareness to support this capacity as an educator will be discussed further in this textbook.
Safe workplaces provide employees of licensed childcare organizations and school boards with peace of mind when engaging in daily work with young children. As educators work to ensure children are safely learning to support their growth and development, educators must also have an awareness to keep themselves and others safe in the learning spaces, the larger organization, and in the community. The Ministry of Labour has many resources available to maintain safe and healthy workplaces. Educators must be made aware of these regulations, policies and procedures prior to engaging in work with young children. Occupational health and safety will be discussed in the text, along with mental health and wellness necessary for educators to live a balanced life for themselves when caring for others.