BVO Preschool: Learning lessons through play

Even though we are currently in the midst of the summer months, class is still in session at the BVO Preschool in Thornbury – a year-round facility that caters to local youngsters by providing them with a play-based learning program that is both fun and educational.

“Each day, play provides lots of learning opportunities, and we take advantage of those types of things,” commented Jennifer Miller, one of the preschool’s co-supervisors.

Miller went on to explain the recent evolution of early-years education in the province, a shift that the BVO Preschool has successfully adapted to.

“Our programming now is child driven, or emergent,” Miller said. “We used to be theme based, but the Ministry of Education has now taken over daycares. With that licensing coming into effect, we have now changed our policies, and we now run an emergent program.”

This evolution has involved a move away from pre-planned curriculum, with the focus now leaning towards activities that the kids show an interest in.

“We used to plan everything out, and we’d know exactly what we were going to do from Monday to Friday. Now we take cues from the kids,” Miller said. “We try to watch the kids throughout the day, and see what their interests are, and we try to provide programming around those things.”

For example, they recently found that the toddler group had taken an interest in the beach, so they geared some of their latest activities towards things like sand, water, sandcastles and seashells.

“When we start to see that things are not as interesting anymore, then we provide changes within our classroom that may stimulate a new idea,” Miller said.

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The BVO Preschool is a non-profit, licensed centre that services children 18 months to six years of age, though certain exceptions are in place to allow younger students to sometimes attend. Miller explained the many ways that lessons can be infused into the children’s playtime, and was also sure to mention that aside from introductions to things like math and literacy, good manners are also a big part of the equation at such a young age.

“We try to provide those opportunities here on a daily basis. At the table during snack time, for example, we provide them with the words they need to have proper manners,” she said. “They usually come to an adult when they’re struggling, so what we do is we turn it around and ask them what they’d like to tell their friend. That way they have the opportunity to actually voice their opinion.”

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The full capacity of the BVO Preschool is 39 total children, with a maximum of 15 in the toddler group and 24 in the preschooler category.

“If we ran at those numbers all the time, we’d be very happy here at the preschool,” Miller said.

There are still spaces available for children to join up for the fall session, and interested parents are encouraged to get in touch with the BVO Preschool and come by for a visit.

“That way parents actually know what they’re putting their child into,” Miller said. “We want them to come and visit to see if it’s the right feel, and the right fit.”

To learn more about the BVO Preschool program, visit their website by clicking here. Also, as stated above, there is still space available for the fall, so feel free to contact the preschool for more information if you are interested in placing your child in one of these spaces.

“If we weren’t here, there would be a lot of parents that would have to drive quite a distance to find childcare,” Miller said. “We provide the children with love, care, and a great environment to learn. I think our staff comes to work every day because we love children, and we love that we get to provide them with those early learning moments.”

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