Play and Exploration: The Early Learning Program Guide is an important part of Saskatchewan’s early childhood development initiatives. The Guide affirms the importance of high quality experiences for all Saskatchewan children during their preschool years and draws on knowledge gained from early childhood education research, examples from successful practice of early childhood educators, and understandings passed on through community culture, values and beliefs.
The vision set out in Play and Exploration is that early learning programs in Saskatchewan are holistic, responsive, and developmentally appropriate, focusing on the healthy development of the whole child – social, emotional, physical, intellectual and spiritual. It also establishes that children, family members and early childhood educators should collaborate in enriching children’s learning and growth.
The Guide defines quality early learning programs as those that incorporate the following principles into their daily practice: children as competent learners, holistic development and learning, strong positive relationships, and stimulating and dynamic environments. The principles reflect a holistic approach to children’s development and learning for which the guide offers guidance for effective practices.
The intention is that all programs in Saskatchewan will reflect the vision, principles and quality elements described in Play and Exploration; however, understanding that children, families, educators and community context will affect how a particular program looks and feels. The aim is to promote high quality, age-appropriate, play-based learning experiences for children aged birth to five years in a variety of settings. High quality programs engage children and their families in the planning and delivery of a healthy, safe, culturally sensitive and stimulating program that promotes children’s abilities and interests.