The leaves have fallen at Southslope out of school care (OOSC) and the youngsters have spent their time outside gathering leaves together to run, jump and play in. Supervisor Carly Neville says the children enjoy being silly and jumping in the leaf piles, and she’s particularly pleased that they’re welcoming of everyone to join in the fun. One Grade 2 student who uses a walker saw the children playing and the students invited him to participate.
“It was really cool to see how the kids embraced and encouraged him to join in their fun little game,” says Carly.
The 7-year-old boy was thrilled, and pretended to be the hero Lightening McQueen complete with his catch-phrase “Ka-Chow” from his favourite movie Cars. The daycare environment is fostering inclusive and welcoming attitudes for children of all abilities.
“Every child is a little bit different and we embrace them regardless,” says Carly. “Some have a harder time making friends, but they still have friends here, and they still feel part of the family. We don’t discriminate — we love all the kids and the kids all get along no matter what, that part’s pretty cool.”
The inclusive environment is helping children feel comfortable and accepting of people with many different abilities.
“Not all kids are so open, but it seems like the kids that are in care and one of the programs with BACI are that much more aware of inclusion. Being a parent myself, it makes me feel good to know that there are places where kids, no matter what their difference is, they can feel cared for, and loved and have a safe place to hang out with peers,” says Carly. “I think it’s nice for children that do have some challenges to feel at home, feel comfortable and feel safe being different,” she adds.
Parents also see the impact the welcoming and inclusive environment is having on their children, expressing to Carly the happiness they feel when their children are invited to events like birthday parties.