Portraits of Child Care
Through this exhibition we hope to open up the world of child care to those who may never have seen the possibilities of high quality care and education. We hope that people who may not understand the importance of our call for a national child care system, will see the value in the learning and care manifested in these photographs.Thank you to all the families, educators and tiny humans for participating in the project and allowing me to be a part of your day.
Early Childhood Educators and Child Care Workers are skilled and educated in child development and creative and respectful programming that supports all children and families.
These photographs illustrate the importance of high quality staff and enviroments for all children. We are shaping our future, join the movement to do the same!
All photo rights belong to photographer Joel Andrew Clifton, Viktoria Bitto and the Ontario Coalition for Better Child Care. Please do not use these photos without our permission. Thank you.
Portraits of Child Care- Ottawa 2016
Photography by: Viktoria Bitto, RECE.
Portraits of Child Care- Toronto 2015
Providing children with a safe and nurturing environment and space to be themselves fosters a positive sense of self and creates opportunity for meaningful learning experiences.
Outdoor play is so vital to all children and staff’s personal wellbeing and mental health. Creating an open space to explore, learn and play allows for gross motor development, which helps children with self-regulation and autonomy.
Every child comes to child care with a story, a family and their own set of skills and challenges. Celebrating children’s strengths through supportive and respectful programming allows their challenges to develop into strengths.
Early Childhood Educators and Child Care Workers are often times more than just experts in child development and programming; they are a source of support, care and empowerment.
The most beautiful thing in child care is when you witness how comfortable, content and engaged children can be in high quality licenced environments. Child care is a second home for a lot of children. This gives us, as Early Childhood Educators, an opportunity to create a space of acceptance, patience, learning and kindness. Children learn best when they are involved in their learning and respected as a partner in that process.
Outdoor environments give children a space for autonomy and mastering their skills while learning and cooperating with one another. It’s a moment of collaboration and true compassion when children learn to appreciate that they have different strengths and that those differences are celebrated and appreciated.
Children desire to make sense of the world around them. They develop a strong sense of exploration that can really be nurtured in play based programming, which is flexible and based on the children’s interest. Taking a step back and encouraging this exploration is when those Aha! moments happen.
Using art as a form of non-verbal communication for children is a powerful tool in early learning environments. When a child is learning a new language, adapting to a new environment or has exceptionalities, supporting communication through art is a powerful tool. This photo expresses the power of art.
This is one of my favourite moments that we were able to capture. When I worked in the toddler room, this was also my favourite time of day. Nap time is a beautiful dance between the children, environment and staff. For some children to become ready to sleep is a dynamic and complicated routine to learn. Once mastered by both children and staff, it is a moment where real trust and care is established.
Respecting that all children learn differently is a very important aspect to high quality care. Some children may need more time to tie their shoes, they may need more space, they may need more help, or they may need an extra hug to say well done. What they need is important to how they will learn. Creating a stress-free environment supports this variation in learning and fosters a positive sense of self.
Snack and lunch times are about more than nutrition! The act of sharing meals together within child care is vital to the heart of programming. Sharing meals together in a relaxed and social gathering feeds community spirit.. Children’s relationship with food is ever evolving. It is important to help them along the way with fun, patience and thoughtfulness. When this is encouraged, the rewards are healthy bodies and minds for children and families.
I walked over to a group of children looking at unripe acorns; they were gently feeling the skin of the acorn, asking each other questions about what this little green thing could be. I stood silently at first, encouraging their hypothesizing and inquiry. I knelt down and one child placed the acorn in my hand and said “Let’s grow more trees from these so our air stays clean.” So many incredible learning opportunities come from children’s natural interest and inquiry; it’s really what makes curriculum shine.
Watching children learn independence is beautiful. They thrive so naturally and move at ease through a program and transitions that suit their developmental needs. When children are given flexibility and independence within the daily routine, they develop this gentle way of strengthening their own identity.
High quality before- and after-school care is so important, not only to children’s development, but to their families and communities empowerment. Bringing together children and supporting their sense of self builds lasting relationships and connections; valuable skills for the middle years. Children are finding their place in the world and with their friends. It is important to create positive space for them to do this. Empathy comes from these connections and creates future leaders.
One on One interaction is so vital to children health and happiness within Child Care. Taking a moment to stop and come down to the child’s level, embracing their feelings and needs provides a sense of trust and security for both educator and child.
Early Childhood Educators are trained professionals in the art and science of child development. An ECE understands the importance of flexibility and learning opportunities throughout the program. Here we can see Alana Powell, RECE taking a brief moment before lunch to read a book with her toddlers. This supports their self-regulation and helps ease transition.
Child Care is a place where children from all walks of life come together and are respected and appreciated as equals. This fosters a great sense of cultural competency and empathy for not only the children but families and their communities as well.
Early Childhood Educators are often not only program leaders but advocates for the importance of care as well.
This photo is featured as this year’s Early Childhood Educator and Child Care Worker Appreciation day poster. This photo highlights the joy and safety that children and professionals experience in high quality care.
When children are given achievable challenges they are encouraged to take responsibility for their successes. Something as simple as taking a friends hand and helping them walk safely back to the centre, highlights the value of consistency and respectful routine.
Snack time is a wonderful time to nourish our bodies and minds. Creating a relaxed and stress free environment supports not only children but the educators and child care workers as well. I loved sitting with these toddlers and sharing our thoughts about watermelon, its colour, feeling and taste!
Learning happens best when children are empowered to play, be individuals, share with one another and lead their own learning. Moments like this, they happen often and they change the lives of many.
Encouraging children to lead their own learning creates a space for leadership, independence, compassion and self-confidence. Watching this toddler share a song with her educator and the other children was really amazing; she showed such confidence and joy throughout the entire experience.
School Age programming is so important to supporting and empowering children and families. This school ager had been in child care since kindergarten. He became a leader and support for his younger school age friends. Watching him find his self-confidence and develop his compassion for others was a really moving experience.
Literature is woven throughout high quality programs offering children language opportunities in all sorts of different environments and moments. Here a toddler reaches for his friend’s water bottle and starts sounding out the name by reading each letter, with the support of his Early Childhood Educator.
Movement, Music, Dancing all encourage freedom of expression in children from infants to school age. Here a few toddlers dance to some beautiful African drum music, watching one another and learning through movement.
Our environment nurtures our children and teaches them the value of being a part of a strong community. Early Childhood Educators know the importance of using the community around them to enhance their curriculum. When children are able to see themselves within the program, when their community is represented and their home brought into the learning environment, learning happens in a natural, positive way and great self-esteem is fostered.
Giving children the space to re-create the things that they see around them daily gives depth to their play, a depth that comes from a place of re-creation, creation and imagination. Here is imagination in process, creating a beautiful meal to help feed his classroom.
If you have any questions please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
The Toronto Exhibition will take place at:
The Daniels Spectrum Centre
585 Dundas St E, Toronto, ON M5A 2B7
October 3rd until the 28th 2015
Please visit the Exhibit details to find our more and see photos from the opening event!